PAOK get the job done against Asteras
In a Super League Matchday 19 contest match marked by difficult decisions for referees and the extensive use of VAR, PAOK overcame Asteras Tripoli 3-1 at the Toumba Stadium to claim all three points.
The Dikefalos tou Vorra faced two issues coming into this match. Firstly, a much-improved Tripolis side under recently-appointed coach Milan Rastavac, and secondly, several key players absent. In the end, however, PAOK had enough quality to chalk up another important win in a game which showed how important VAR is.
PAOK began strongly and missed two decent chances to score within the first 10 minutes through Limnios and Mauricio. The home side kept pressing but they could not seem to find a way past Nikos Papaopoulos in the visiting goal. From their side, Asteras also began to push further up the pitch as the half-hour mark approached. And that is when PAOK finally managed to strike. Vieirinha’s forward pass was cut out by Luis Fernandez, but the ball fell kindly to Swiderski and the Polish forward did what he knows best by firing home a low shot to make it 1-0.
Proceedings were paused for a VAR review, and the referee Skoulas confirmed the goal stood, and the teams went into the dressing rooms at half-time at 1-0.
In the second half, PAOK needed around 10 minutes to threaten with Pelkas trying his luck from the rebound after Papadopoulos had blocked Limnios’ shot. That effort was wayward, but PAOK finally got the second goal their play deserved on the hour mark when after Mauricio’s shot, the ball found its way to The Joker, who scored the simplest of goals which also survived a VAR review.
In the 66th minute Asteras were reduced to 10 players and at that point the game looked over as a contest. In the 79th minute Lamprou netted from close-range from another Josip Misic assist to make it 3-0, while Asteras grabbed a consolation goal with five minutes left thanks to Marc Fernandez.
That meant PAOK picked up another vital three-point haul to move top of the standings, ahead of the Olympiacos-Aris match which was taking place later on. Olympiacos needed a win to reclaim top spot.
Asteras Tripolis (Milan Rastavac): Papadopoulos, Ortega, Suarez, Matricardi, Kotsiras, Sito (59’ Riera), Borja Fernandez (77’ Bellocq), Valiente, Marc Fernandez, Luis Fernandez (69’ Pasalidis), Jauregi.