Defeat sets up ‘final’ with Bratislava
Copenhagen gave PAOK a taste of their own medicine at the Toumba, coming away with a 2-1 win – just as PAOK had done in Denmark – which sees them move into top spot in Group F – a result that means PAOK will face a qualifying ‘final’ in Bratislava against Slovan in the next match.
PAOK began the match in determined mood and got a dream start with an early goal. However, the hosts missed a host of opportunities for more goals – including hitting the woodwork, and ended up paying dearly for their defensive erros, conceding two goals and ending up with nothing out of the game.
Razvan Lucescu’s side dominated proceedings from the kick-off and looked for the quick goal which came in the eighth minute. After a superb piece of team play between Schwab, Biseswar, Swiderski and A. Zivkovic, the Serb finished off the move to make it 1-0.
The visitors tried to respond relatively immediately, but Biel missed a great opportunity in the 13th minute. The pace of the game dropped from that point with the opportunities going to the home side. Copenhagen, however, found the equalizing goal they were looking for in the 34th minute through Ankersen, who took the ball into the penalty area following a neat passage of passes and fired into the back of the net.
The hosts looked for a quick riposte, and in the 40th minute, Biseswar fired in a shot on goal, but his side-footed effort went narrowly wide, while in the 45th minute, PAOK missed a golden chance. Schwab was the guilty party, heading onto the crossbar from a free-kick sent in by Biseswar.
The second half started in the worst possible way for PAOK with Biel sending a clinical finish into the back of the net to make it 2-1 just five minutes after the restart.
From that point on, PAOK took the reins and lay siege to the Danes goal, with the visitors only registering one more serious goal threat, which was dealth with by Paschalakis .
The Double-headed Eagle, for their part, saw a defender block a Swiderksi effort on the goalline, then saw Akpom fail to send the ball into the net with a prodded effort on goal, before Johnson stopped a shot from El Kaddouri with his head. There was controversy when the referee did not award PAOK a penalty when Akpom appeared to be fouled inside the box, and then Michailidis was sent off in the final moments. Unfortunately the ball would just not go in for PAOK, who suffered a loss that was very harsh to say the least based on the balance of play in the match.
Essentially, the advantage that PAOK built with the away win at the Parken has now disappeared, and Copenhagen have moved on to nine points, with PAOK now going to Bratislava to play what is essentially a ‘final’ against Slovan, with whom they are tied with seven points.
Copenhagen (Jess Thorup): Johnson, Ankersen (74′ Gabrielsen), Khocholava, Boilesen, Kristiansen, Diks, Stage, Lerager, Biel (86′ Baldurson), Boving (62′ Johann), Wind.