PAOK lose out in tough battle
After making an electric start which hinted that PAOK’s Dutch hoodoo would come to an end with a win, PSV Eindhoven overturned a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 on Matchday 4 of the UEFA Europa League group stage.
The match at the PSV Stadion resembled the clash at the Toumba at the start of the month in many ways. Only this time the roles were reversed. PAOK surprisd the home side by moving into a 2-0 lead after just 13 minutes. However, the Dutch side had answers and claimed a victory which means they moved one point clear of the Doubled-headed Eagle in the group standings.
Let’s rewind back to the start of the game and examine what happened,
The coaching team have a starting berth to Charis Tsiggaras for the first time, while Jose Crespo played on the left side of defence, and Antonio Colak was given the task of spearheading the attack.
Whatever it was exactly that Pablo Garcia and his associates had planned, the early stages of the match saw the plan work perfectly. Just four minutes in Fernando Varela celebrated his birthday in style by directing a Christos Tziolis shot into the net to make it 1-0 to PAOK.
Eindhoven tried to respond but on 13 minutes it was PAOK who got on the scoresheet again. Andrija Zivkovic produced a superb piece of skill down the right before sending over a pin-point cross to Schwab. The Austrian lofted a perfect first-time pass to the back post for Tziolis, who scored with a half-volley to doubled his team’s lead.
One minute later, however, Cody Gakpo reduced the deficit and the Dutch began to press the visitor’s goal and search for an equalizer. The Double-headed Eagle players went in at half-time still 2-1 up thanks to Zivko Zivkovic, who made two good saves to deny Donyell Malen and Eran Zhavi.
The start of the second half was a stark contrast to how the first half had begun. PSV came out with all guns blazing in an effort to get back on level terms and after 51 minutes they got the goal they were looking for through Noni Madueke, and just two minutes later they moved ahead thanks to Malen.
PAOK did not give up the ghost and tried desperately to get back on level terms right until the final whistle, but any threat to Yvon Mvogo’s goal was minimal. For all their efforts, PAOK only had a headed effort from Varela to show for it.
The final whistle blew with the realization that PAOK are now in third place in the table, and have a point less than the Dutchmen, while they are five behnd leaders Granada, who defeated Omonia 2-1.
PAOK travel to Cyprus to face Omonia in the next round of fixtures, while Granada will host PSV.
PSV: Mvogo, Dumfries, Teze, Boscagli, Max, Rosario, Sangare, Madueke (78’ Junior), Gakpo, Zahavi (71’ Hendrix), Malen (93’ Ledezma).