Advantage ahead of Belarus leg
PAOK U19s needed time to settle into the encounter and that cost them, as Minsk took the lead. Their reaction though was swift and they achieved a memorable comeback, defeating the Belorussian side 2-1 for the round of 16 of the UEFA Youth League Domestic Champions Path. At times, Pablo García’s pupils played attractive, combination football and earned the right to look ahead to the second leg (28 November) with confidence.
The Belorussian outfit took the lead in the 11th minute with a shot by Gorbach. The “Double-Headed Eagle” responded with a string of wasted chances and a spot kick that Gaitanidis earned but Diamantis failed to convert in the 19th minute. They pushed further and came close with a shot by Gaitanidis (29’), a fine direct free kick by Tsaousis (36’) and a header by Gaitanidis (41’).
Doumtsis was the one to level the encounter in the 44th minute with an outstanding finish, teed up by Gaitanidis. Right after the interval, in the 46th minute, PAOK scored a deserved goal that earned them victory, thanks to a double effort by Chatzistravos on an assist by lively Gaitanidis.
The visitors pushed for an equalizer and Tikhomirov came close, but Papadopoulos saved his effort. The “Double-Headed Eagle” didn’t give space to Minsk for more –on the contrary, they went close to a third goal in the 79th minute with a lobbed shot by Diamantis and just before full-time whistle with a direct free-kick by Michailidis.
PAOK U19: Papadopoulos, Diamantis, Μichailidis, Lyratzis, Τsiggaras, Τsaousis, Gaitanidis (75’ Xifilinos), Salamouras, Panidis (63’ Gargalatzidis), Chatzistravos (81’ Voutsas), Doumtsis.