A «lesson» before Russia
PAOK has already secured a place in Europe until December, but the team must learn fast how to adapt from European matches to domestic games after Atromitos give them a useful and valuable lesson ahead of the coming matches.
PAOK drew 1-1 with the Athenian club at the Toumba Stadium, losing two points in the early stages of the race for this year’s championship.
Abel Ferreira made a couple of changes to his team. Ingi Ingasson, Omar El Kaddouri and Dimitris Pelkas were rested, with Diego Biseswar, Enea Mihaj, and Andrija Zivkovic all getting places in the starting XI in their place, along with Karol Swiderski in attack.
In the first half, PAOK took full control of the match, but failed to create a significant goal threat to visiting keeper Gianniotis’s goal, with the Atromitos man on hand to help his team whenever he was called upon.
In the second half, the pattern of the match changed. The tempo picked up significantly, and chances began to flow. PAOK missed a great opportunity to open the scoring through Christos Tzolis after 51 minutes, with the young striker’s shot saved well by Gianniotis at full stretch. Just a minute later, though, Kivrakidis hit the crossbar for Atromitos.
Ferreira’s players attempted to manage their lead effectively and went in search of another goal to try and seal the victory, but Atromitos equalized after 77 minutes through a fortunate goal. Mihaj , while making an attempt to clear the ball following N’Sikulu’s shot, diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper Zivko Zivkovic to make it 1-1.
Neither side shut up shop from then on in, but nor did they manage to fashion a serious scoring chance to win the game, and both clubs in the end had to settle for a point.
The game will be written forever in the history books, however, thanks to the introduction of Giorgos Koutsias, who came off the bench to surpass Thomas Mavros’ record and become the youngest ever player to play in the Greek top flight.
Atromitos (Canadi): Gianniotis, Galo, Goutas, Strougis, Kivrakidis, Salomon, Charisis (73’ Umbides), Tomasevic (83’ Natsos), Giakoumakis (73’ Ν’ Sikulu), Rabello (88’ Muniz), Manousos (46’ Kostopoulos).