Nothing worked for us, everything worked for them…
PAOK suffered a 3-0 home defeat by the “Royal Blues” in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last “32” tie.
PAOK started strongly in packed Toumba, but as the match unfolded they retreated considerably. As a result, they have all but said farewell to their qualifying dreams.
In the 5th minute, the “Double-Headed Eagle” made their attacking intentions known with Léo Matos who was set up by Giannis Mystakids, but his shot from point blank grazed Fährmann’s left post before going wide.
The home side came close to taking the lead in the 12th minute as well. Marin Leovac couldn’t control Mystakidis’s defence-splitting pass giving Schalke’s goalkeeper the opportunity to block.
The German side charged forward and fired some warning shots, that didn’t threaten Panagiotis Glykos. Leovac also went close, but his shot was easily saved by Fährmann.
PAOK were the better side until the 27th minute. But unfortunately, at that moment, Burgstaller broke free in the box, collected the rebound after Glykos saved Naldo’s header and gave Schalke the lead from close range.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” tried to react, but were visibly affected by the opener. After the interval, their efforts to respond were in vain. The game became physical, with tough duels in midfield. Schalke had brought the game exactly where they wanted it with 57% possession. As a result, they extended their lead in the 82nd minute, with a bouncing header of Max Meyer who found himself unmarked in the far post.
In the 89th minute, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sealed Schalke’s 3-0 victory with a neat finish from close range.
Toumba’s spectacular atmosphere was captured on camera by visiting fans once again, but the team failed to keep the dream alive. After the final whistle, the fans acknowledged the players’ effort and didn’t stop singing for the team.
PΑΟΚ: Glykos, Crespo, Varela, Μalezas, Μatos, Leovac, Cimirot, Shakhov, Biseswar (76’ Henrique), Μystakidis (55’ Campos), Αthanasiadis (85΄Warda).
FC Schalke 04: Fährmann, Nastasić, Höwedes, Naldo, Kolašinac, Schöpf (46’ Kehrer), Stambouli, Goretzka, Meyer, Caligiuri (78’ Κonoplyanka), Burgstaller (84’ Huntelaar).