PAOK deserved more…
PAOK remained undefeated, but are not satisfied with the goalless draw against Qäbälä FC considering their performance and number of chances they wasted on their opening match in the UEFA Europa League group stage.
Igor Tudor´s players dictated the tempo of the encounter, created dangerous situations but failed to convert them, and also managed to react well in the few opportunities the hosts got.
Dimitris Pelkas (header), Róbert Mak (two one-on-ones in the first half) and Stelios Kitsiou failed to get the opener, as Qäbälä FC defended in numbers inviting PAOK to camp in their half. The 0-0 didn’t reflect the complexion of the encounter.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” had a rather slow start after the interval and the Azeri grew stronger and went for the kill. Dimitar Berbatov, who had made his debut against Veria, came from the bench in Baku to lead PAOK. He looked for open spaces, guided his teammates and engaged in duels. The last huge chance our team got to escape with the three points came in stoppage time, when Mak shot straight at the rival goalkeeper from the six-yard box.
An away draw in Europe cannot be considered a bad result, however PAOK could and should have gotten all three points on Thursday evening.
Qäbälä FC: Bezotosnyi, Stanković, Vernydub, Ricardinho, Dashdemirov, Dodô (83’ Zargarov), Gai, Meza, Zec (46’ Pereyra), Zenjov, Antonov.
PΑΟΚ: Olsen, Tzavellas, Costa, Vítor, Rodrigues, Kitsiou, Tziolis, Pelkas (76’ Golasa), Sabo (84’ Jairo), Mak, Athanasiadis (59’ Berbatov).