PAOK win first «final»
PAOK returned to winning ways and locked up second place. The Double-headed Eagle also welcomed back several players. And there was also a vital confidence boost in view of the Greek Cup final. In the end it was a good night at the office on Tuesday for PAOK, who beat Panathinaikos 2-0 at the Toumba for Matchday 10 in the Super League Interwetten Play Offs – the club’s final league match of the 2021-22 season.
The first signs of recovery came last Saturday against Olympiacos at the «Georgios Karaiskakis», with the only negative being that the team did not hold on to get the three points. Three days later, however, victory came.
PAOK was dominant, with a performance of substance and determination. They did not leave the Greens any room to manouvre and claimed the victory which saw them secure second place in this year’s Super League Interwetten.
Razvan Lucescu brought Lyratzis and Biseswar back in to the starting lineup, gave Kurtic a rest, and introduced Vieirinha, Oliveira, and El Kaddouri in the second half in order to help them get some rhythm back. And the plan was a complete success.
PAOK began strongly and threatened with Biseswar and Schwab having early efforts on goal, while in the 13th minute Akpom saw an excellent header saved brilliantly by Dioudis in the Panathinaikos goal. A minute later, Schwab opened the scoring.
The Austrian latched on to Ingason’s headed pass and directed the ball home from close range to make it 1-0. Seven minutes later, it was Akpom’s turn to get on the scoresheet. The Englishman picked up the rebound after Dioudis saved from Sidcley and doubled his team’s advantage.
Somewhere there the game ended as a contest. Soares had two good moments before half time, but he failed to beat Dioudis.
The pattern of the game did not change much in the second half. PAOK enjoyed the bulk of the possession and had some good opportunities, teh best of which were from Oliveira and Schwab but neither were able to score from advantageous positions, while Panathinaikos failed to threaten with the exception of one shot by Macheda, who was sent off for picking up a second yellow card in added time.
Everyone’s interest is now focused on Saturday’s cup final at the OAKA, where the same two teams will battle for the prize of the 2021-22 Greek Cup.
PAOK (Razvan Lucescu): Paschalakis, Lyratzis (72′ Vieirinha), Ingason (62′ Mihaj), Varela, Sidcley, Tsingaras, Schwab, Soares (71′ Kaddouri), A. Zivkovic, Biseswar (61′ Mitrita), Akpom (62′ Oliveira).
Panathinaikos (Ivan Jovanovic): Dioudis, Gatsinovic (62′ Vagiannidis), Kourbelis (86′ Perez), Sarlia, Schenkefeld (62′ Pougouras), Chatzitheodoridis, Mauricio (75′ Macheda), Alwexandropoulos, Chatzigiovanis, Vital, Carlitos.