Some matches are by definition tough, due to circumstances. PAOK returned from their holiday break and bumped into… snow storm “Sofia” who deprived them of regular trainings.
Furthermore, Panachaiki were feisty and could manage the unplayable pitch better. They displayed more energy, tried to played rational football and celebrated a 2-1 victory in the first leg of the Greek Cup round of 16.
It was the first defeat of the “Double-Headed Eagle” for 2019 and the first domestic one since last season’s encounter against Asteras Tripolis –their next opponent in the Super League.
PAOK weren’t able to bring their usual game to the pitch, lost several duels and second balls and couldn’t come up with the answers to the problems they encountered throughout the encounter. Now they have to turn the tie around in the second leg of Toumba and seal their passage to the Greek Cup quarter-finals.
The match started with a huge opportunity wasted by Nikos Karelis with a shot wide – it was the closest PAOK came to a goal in the first half. Meanwhile Panachaiki conceded space and adopted a counterattacking game. They were denied at first by Alexandros Paschalakis , but their next visit to PAOK’s box paid dividends. Bastakos collected the rebound and netted the opener.
After the interval, PAOK were determined to equalize, having adjusted to the pitch conditions. They succeeded in the 56th minute with Karelis heading the ball home, connecting a cross by Dimitris Limnios .
It all suggested that the “Double-Headed Eagle” would make the most of their momentum and score the winner. But it wasn’t meant to be. Against the run of play, Panachaiki netted their second with Loumpardeas.
Whatever PAOK players and Răzvan Lucescu tried just wasn’t enough and they ended up suffering their first defeat in the competition in the last two years.
Panachaiki: Κapoutaglis, Stamatopoulos, Loumpardeas, Τselepidis, Polimos, Papatolios, Plegas, Eleftheriadis (66’ Κarachanakov), Argyropoulos (61’ Coll), Κynigopoulos, Bastakos (82’ Μoraitis).