PAOK scattered Panathinaikos to the four winds
PAOK cruised to a famous comeback at the expense of Panathinaikos, defeating them 4-0 thanks to their passionate performance and stamping their ticket for the Greek Cup final.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” followed their tactical plan to the letter from minute one, while also overcoming several rough patches in the first half. After the interval, they improved their display dramatically and sealed their passage to the Greek Cup final, , buoyed by the fervent Toumba faithful.
PAOK couldn’t have hoped for a better start, as Dimitris Pelkas scored the opener with a majestic direct free-kick in the 15th minute. They had gotten the early goal they were craving for.
In the 29th minute, Djalma Campos wasted a glorious opportunity to extend PAOK’s lead, when his shot from the centre of the box flew wide.
In the 34th minute, Panagiotis Glykos made a spectacular save and prevented an almost certain own goal, as Klonaridis’s cross was deflected off Fernando Varela. The shot-stopper of the “Double-Headed Eagle” produced various crucial interventions during the evening.
PAOK were under pressure in the last stages of the first half, but their goal remained intact. Before heading to the dressing rooms, Marin Leovac’s cross from the left was met by Aleksandar Prijović’s header, but the ball went just wide.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” stormed out of the gates in the second half and got their reward in the 48th minute. Substitute Diego Biseswar produced a pin-point cross for Léo Matos, who beat Vlachodimos with a header, cancelling out the first-leg defeat.
A few minutes earlier, Pelkas had taken another direct free-kick, but was denied by the crossbar.
Prijović squandered a gilt-edged opportunity for PAOK’s third goal in the 70th minute. Teed-up by Leovac, he went for a simple poke-in, but Vlachodimos’s reflexes saved Panathinaikos.
Three minutes later, the Greens were reduced to ten players, as Hult was shown his second booking of the evening –a caution that should have come sooner in the encounter.
Yevhen Skakhov did what Prijović failed to do earlier. In the 74th minute, the Ukrainian midfielder collected the ball outside the box and his low shot made it 3-0 for the “black-and-whites”.
In the 82nd minute, Biseswar wasted a double opportunity to increase PAOK’s lead further, but both his shots were blocked by defenders.
Prijović was determined to get on the scoreboard and he did just that in the late stages of the game, thanks to Biseswar’s brilliant effort and pin-point pass. The Serbian forward didn’t even have to move. He just tapped the ball in and celebrated the 4-0 win!
Now, the biggest challenge is the following: “PAOK, 2016-17 Greek Cup winner…”!
PΑΟΚ: Glykos, Matos, Crespo, Varela, Leovac, Cimirot, Shakhov (79’ Cañas), Warda (46’ Biseswar), Pelkas, Campos (59’ Henrique), Prijović.
Panathinaikos: Vlachodimos, Hult, Moledo, Koutroubis, Coulibaly, M’Poku (66’ Molins), Reis, Kourbelis, Villafáñez (88’ Chatzigiovanis), Klonaridis (77’ Lod), Berg.