Many chances, few goals
PAOK started the defence of their Greek Cup title on the right foot, prevailing 2-1 over Levadiakos in Kaftanzoglio Stadium.
As expected, Răzvan Lucescu opted for extensive rotation, giving Carlos Zambrano the opportunity for his PAOK debut and Maurício his first start. On such occasions, it’s difficult for a team to have pace, but it turned out that this was PAOK’s main asset throughout the encounter.
Panagiotis Deligiannidis and Dimitris Limnios provided fresh legs and energy, Gojko Cimirot and Maurício were the metronomes setting the pace, Dimitris Pelkas and Diego Biseswar offered improvisation and fantasy, while Efthymis Koulouris caused headaches to the rival defenders. The “Double-Headed Eagle” were outstanding in the first half, but wasted too many chances. Pelkas failed to score on three unbelievable occasions, while also missing a spot kick earned by Maurício in the 40th minute…
Another player might have been affected psychologically by all those misses. But the youngster scored a beauty right afterwards, with a volley from the edge of the box, following a great individual effort and assist by Limnios.
Things went south for PAOK right after the interval, as Levadiakos converted their first opportunity of the match with Giakoumakis. However, the black-and-whites were on a good day and their solid midfield work enabled them to regain control despite Anigo’s attempt to take more possession through system change.
Yevhen Shakhov scored a beautiful drive from outside the box in the 69th minute and made it 2-1, finally the scoreboard reflecting the complexion of the encounter.
In the last 10 minutes, the pace dropped and PAOK had no problem dealing with Levadiakos’s attempts to gain metres on the pitch and pressure more. The “Double-Headed Eagle” easily saw the match out and earned a very important three-pointer in their quest to defend their Greek Cup title.
One stat says it all: PAOK had 22 attempts on goal, Levadiakos just one –and yet, the scoreline remained 2-1.
Levadiakos (Anigo): Namașco, Mendy, Favarro, Adilehou, Tsabouris, Karachalios (46’ Zaradoukas), Mitropoulos, Kaltsas, Belghazouani (77’ Vasiliou), Giakoumakis, Katharios (69’ Toni Silva).