A day of learning in the Netherlands
PAOK suffered a 2-1 friendly defeat by Groningen in their second pre-season friendly in the Netherlands, although the Double-headed Eagle did take the lead and also hit the woodwork twice.
The players learned a lot today. They learned that they have to be more efficient and… kill off matches. They also learned that they are at a good level in the field of build-up play, as they created many opportunities. Also, as the coach pointed out, they also learned that taking risks in many cases comes at a cost. But that’s what summer friendlies are all about. To try things out, to learn, and make sure to improve on any areas that need attention before the official competitive games start.
Razvan Lucescu and Co. will have plenty of work to do on Sunday (03.07), despite the squad having the day off, as the have plenty of material to analyze from the friendly against the Dutch side.
In the match, PAOK lined up with two different starting XIs, one in each half, with the Romanian coach mixing up the players in comparison to the game against Go Ahead Eagles.
Kotarski, A.Zivkovic and Mihaj played their first 45 minutes of the season, while Tzimas played at right-back to fill the void of Lyratzis, who was out after his injury, as were Vieirinha, Michailidis, and Jasmin Kurtic, the latter of whome arrived on Friday (01.07) in Apeldoorn.
PAOK made a strong start and were almost ahead in the 12th minute through Andrija Zivkovic, while there were three more good chances with Ingason, Quagliata and Oliveira all going close up until the 30th minute. The first half ended goalless, with PAOK’s defense not being threatened at all.
The second half started impressively for PAOK. In the 49th minute, Sastre provided the assist and Konstantelias made it 1-0 with a prodded finish. Then Filipe Soares missed an incredible opportunity, failing to find the target with his shot after rounding the opposing goalkeeper. In the 65th minute, Konstantelias then hit the crossbar with a shot.
In the final part of the match, the Dutch came forward more in response to PAOK’s attacking monologue that lasted for about 75 minutes, and they proved to be clinical.
Initially, in the 77th minute, Groningen took advantage of a lapse in the Double-headed Eagle defensive line. Iradast stole the ball and beat Talichmanidis with a lofted finish, while in the 85th minute Deleu fired in a rebound after Talichmanidis had saved a shot to make it 2-1 from close range.
PAOK’s next friendly match is on Wednesday (06.07) against AZ Alkmaar at 19:00 Greek time.
1st Half – Kotarski, Tzimas, Koulierakis, Ingason, Tsaousis, Schwab, Douglas, El Kaddouri, A. Zivkovic, Quagliata, Oliveira.
2nd Half – Talichmanidis, Sastre, Koulierakis, Mihaj, Rafa Soares, Dantas, Tsingaras, Filipe Soares, Konstantelias, Ricardo, Colak.