One wasted half, two lost points
After a poor first half in which PAOK fell a goal behind, the Double-headed Eagle then staged a second-half recovery to draw level, but had to settle for a point as the Europa League group stage opener against Omonia ended in a 1-1 draw.
Abel Ferreira’s team made life difficult for themselves, since the home side failed to get going in the opening 45 minutes and create chances, despite having 70% of the possession.
On the other hand, the opposition set up their stall to defend, and they did so very well. At the same time the visitors tried to hit PAOK on the break, and they managed to capitalize on one chance through Eric Bauthéac in the 16th minute to take the lead.
In the second half, PAOK began in more decisive fashion to try and get an early goal, but nothing Antonio Colak tried could find its way past Fabiano in the Omonia goal.
Thomas Murg was the man who finally provided the hosts with a solution. In his first European game with the Double-headed Eagle, the Austrian midfielder converted an assist from Stefan Schwab to round off a fine team goal and make it 1-1.
Ferreira’s men did not stop there, pushing on to try and get more goals and get the win. PAOK created 16 attempts on goal from the 19 in total from both teams in the second half, but the home side could not find the crucial breakthrough, while Zivko Zivkovic made one vital save in a one-on-one situation against Marinos Tzionis.
In the other group game Granada turned things around to defeat PSV Eindhoven in Holland 2-1, moving to the top of the standings. On Matchday 2 the Double-headed Eagle travels to Spain, while Omonia will welcome the Dutch club in Cyprus.
Omonia (Henning Berg): Fabiano, Hubočan, Lüftner , Lang, Lecjaks, Papoulis (75’ Asante), Gomes, Gomez, Tzionis, Bauthéac (92’ Loizou), Duris (75’ Kakoulis).