U20s win third-place clash
PAOK U20 prevailed 2-0 over Panionios and overtook the Nea Smyrni outfit in the standings, climbing to third place with one match to go before season’s end.
Vladan Ivić’s troops prevailed 2-0 over Panionios in an entertaining match –despite high temperatures- and missed out on the opportunity to record a larger victory that would better reflect their dominance.
Black-and-whites hit the ground running and made their presence felt in the rivals’ box right from the start. After just two minutes of play, Kakko’s shot flew narrowly wide. In the 14th minute, Dimitriadis was denied by the goalkeeper. Nine minutes later, PAOK broke the deadlock. Kakko combined with Kushta and teed-up Pouflis for the simplest of finishes.
In the 26th minute, Panionios goalkeeper cleared Chatzidimpas’s header, Kushta collecting the rebound but failing to send the ball home. Five minutes before the interval, a defender used his hand to clear Ratza’s cross. The ensuing penalty was converted by Vasaitis.
Ivić’s players took the foot off the throttle on their way back from the dressing rooms and the first 20 minutes of the second half went by uneventful. Dimitriadis’ long range strike in the 69th minute rattled the crossbar. One minute later, it was Panionios’ turn to be denied by woodwork. In the 71st minute, Chatzidimpas cleared the ball in his box with an impeccable tackle, but the referee pointed to the spot – triggering strong protests by PAOK people. Soilemezoglou however was up for the challenge and saved the penalty. Afterwards the “Double-Headed Eagle” picked up their pace and created several occasions to extend their lead, but the 2-0 scoreline remained unchanged until the final whistle.
PAOK have a tally of 70 points, two more than Panionios who play host to Olympiacos on the last matchday. Our players travel to Tripolis and have the luxury of remaining in third place even if they are held to a draw.
PAOK U20 line-up: Soilemezoglou, Ratza (78′ Dodontsakis), Anastasiou, Chatzidimpas, Vasaitis, Patralis (65′ Panagiotidis), Toumanidis, Dimitriadis, Kakko (71′ Tsolakidis), Pouflis, Kushta.