PAOK did their duty
Putting on a more convincing display than a week before, PAOK prevailed 2-0 over FC Olimpik Donetsk and will be present in Friday’s draw for the UEFA Europa League play-offs.
The final result doesn’t tell the whole story, as Aleksandar Stanojević’s troops wasted numerous opportunities for a more impressive scoreline.
The “Double-Headed Eagle stamped their authority on the match from minute one. Led by the lively Djalma Campos in his playmaking role along with Diego Biseswar , they camped outside the Ukrainians’ box. The visitors relied on their physical condition and tough man-marking, but lacked the technical quality to become really dangerous upfront.
Following some wasted chances by Aleksandar Prijović and Róbert Mak, the Slovakian winger inaugurated his scoring account in his second spell at PAOK in the 24th minute of the match. And it was a very special goal, culminating a solo effort –such goals had already forged his reputation as one of the best wingers to grace Greek football.
A few minutes later, Gojko Cimirot unleashed a splendid shot from a distance to make it 2-0 and practically seal qualification.
After the interval, PAOK needed to remain demure and consistent in order to hold on to the reins of the match, despite fatigue kicking in, as expected in this stage of the season.
But they did squander some glorious opportunities to increase distances. The poor finishing touches of Prijović, Biseswar, Dimitris Pelkas and Mak saved FC Olimpik from a heavy defeat.
After this boost of confidence and with increased pace, PAOK are now waiting to find out who their next rival will be in the competition. The draw will be held on Friday afternoon.
FC Olimpik Donetsk (Sanzhar): Makharadze, Lukyanchuk (46’ Mihunov), Kravchenko, Moha, Shabanov, Shestakov, Bilenkyi (71’ Mikhalyov), Nyemchaninov, Tsymbalyuk, Khomutov (60’ Sondey), Bohdanov.