Good football, a performance of substance, and three points
PAOK did everything right against NFC Volos and managed to get another three points, winning 3-0 at the Toumba Stadium, ahead of consecutive big games against Panathinaikos and Eintracht Frankfurt in Athens and Thessaloniki respectively.
Razvan Lucescu’s team lined up again with many changes compared to the last game against PAS in Ioannina, but this did not stop them from playing excellent football, creating many chances and at the final whistle celebrating a comfortable victory.
The first big chance for the hosts came in the 18th minute, with Papadopoulos in the NFC Volos goal saving Taison’s effort. In the 24th minute, Schwab hit the post with a header, and Tsingaras failed to convert the rebound. Four minutes later Sastre then saw his powerful shot from a tight angle also hit the woodwork.
The solution finally came in the 40th minute. Koulierakis was the man who broke the deadlock with a header from a free-kick taken by Taison to make it 1-0. And before the end of the first half, a second goal arrived for the home side. Taison was involved again, carrying the ball forward confidently before offloading at the right moment to Murg , who made it 2-0 with a prodded effort.
The pattern of play remained the same in the second half. PAOK were perfect defensively and did not leave room for the opposition to threaten them, while they continued to create opportunities to score. Andrija Zivkovic threatened Papadopoulos’ goal with a free kick in the 47th minute, but he did not beat the goalkeeper on that occasion. Sure enough though, the third goal came in the 55th minute. Samatta carried the ball into the penalty area after getting beyond an opposing defender, rounded the goalkeeper and applied a clinical finish to make it 3-0, scoring his first goal in a black and white shirt.
Three minutes later, Baba produced an excellent cross but Andrija Živkovic was unable to convert it. PAOK threatened again through Konstantelias and Sastre , but without success and as the minutes passed, the pace of the match dropped.
Match referee Sidiropoulos’ final whistle saw the Double-headed Eagle players celebrating another three-point haul and they now turn their attention to the two tough games that follow with Panathinaikos in Leoforos and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Toumba, two matches which will surely prove to be a marker for the team’s progress.
NFC Volos: Papadopoulos, Alho (Kalogeropoulos 56′), Luna, Tahatos, Tsokanis, Glavcits, Trouige (Engine 46′), Koba (Metaxas 65′), Cornet, Macheiras, Garcia (Moraitis 65′).