PAOK put one foot in the semi-finals
Lamia may have made PAOK’s life difficult for a large part of Wednesday’s first leg of their Greek Cup quarter-final tie at the Toumba, but with a purple patch in the finale, the home side completed a convincing 5-2 victory over the Fthiotida club and have made an important step towards the semi-finals of the competition.
The first 24 minutes of the match were definitely satisfying to watch, especially for the neutrals who would have enjoyed it with all of their hearts.
PAOK took an early lead through Christos Tzolis , who took advantage of Lamia goalkeeper Theodoropoulos‘ fumbled save and made it 1-0 with a header from close range.
Lamia found an answer immediately, however. Alexandros Paschalakis made an important save to deny Arabuli, but from the resulting corner, Lamia equalized thanks to an impressive shot from Adejo following a bit of a messy scramble in the Double-headed Eagle’s penalty area.
The visitors’ goal did nothing to disorganize the Black and Whites, however, as the home side continued to control the rhythm of play and to put pressure on the opposition goal who were pegged back in their own half.
And in the 16th minute, PAOK took the lead again when Stefan Schwab scored from an excellent shot following an assist by Andrija Zivkovic .
But again Lamia found a way to respond from another set phase. Bejarano rose to head home a free-kick and level the match at 2-2, and the players went into the dressing rooms with that scoreline since Vieirinha’s 38th-minute shot failed to find the target.
In the second half, the visitors came out looking to try and take their time and frustrate the home side, with minimal football played for about 20 minutes. Only a marking the crossbar with a direct foul.
Then things changed when PAOK sent on Omar El Kaddouri and Michael Krmencik to breath new life into the Double-headed Eagle’s attacking line, and in 67th minute PAOK took the lead again.
Krmencik fired in a shot which came back off the crossbar, and Tzolis was on hand to convert the rebound and make it 3-2.
From that moment on, PAOK never looked back. The home side did not give Lamia so much as a sniff up front and in the 82th minute it was 4-2 when Rodrigo scored with a wonderful looping shot – the Brazilian’s first ever goal for the club.
Krmencik , who had been impressive after hitting the woodwork and having a clever backheel strike chalked off for offside, made it 5-2 in the 88th minute with a well-taken diagonal shot.
That was the end of the scoring as PAOK built themselves a significant lead ahead of the second leg, with the Thessaloniki club having the upper hand in the tie for the trip to Lamia in early March.
PAOK: Paschalakis, Rodrigo, Crespo, Ingason, Vieirinha, Tsingaras, Schwab (66′ El Kaddouri), Warda (80′ Kagawa), Tzolis (90′ Ninua), A. Zivkovic (80′ Murg), Swiderski (66′ Krmencik).
Lamia: Theodoropoulos, Saramantas, Andejo, Vyntra, Provydakis, Bejarano, Romanic (90′ Vlachomitros), Guga (69′ Asigba), Piti (68′ Vasilakakis, 77′ Kostikas), Ghazaryan (89′ James).