-- Trela PAOKARA --
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - GROUP J (MATCHDAY 5)
|Fiorentina||2 - 3||PAOK|
PAOK came away with a massive “diplo” in Italy by defeating Fiorentina 2-3, keeping their hopes alive in Group J of the UEFA Europa League,. The Dikefalos tou Vora went ahead 0-2 early in the first half before the hosts equalized with a goal in each half. However, Rodrigues gave all three points to PAOK with a tremendous goal in stoppage time.
PAOK had a tough test in Italy against the group leaders Fiorentina knowing that a loss would mean elimination from the competition. The Dikefalos tou Vora got off to a great start when Shakhov opened the scoring in the 5th minute with his close-range effort. Rodrigues came inches away from doubling the visitors’ lead three minutes later, but his shot was stopped by the post. Fiorentina then went on the attack looking for an equalizer and they were denied by the woodwork on two occasions. Bernardeschi was the first to strike and Christoforo was unlucky as the ball crossed the goal-line, but a goal was not awarded by the referee. After Fiorentina’s pressure, PAOK was the next to strike when Campos’ effort found the back of the net, doubling PAOK’s lead. Bernardeschi pulled on back five minutes later and Fiorentina trailed by one at the break.
The second half did not have the same quick pace as the opening 45-minutes, but Fiorentina managed to pull level in the 50th minute with Babacar’s strike. Despite blowing a 2-goal lead, PAOK did not give up and created chances to regain the lead. The wait lasted until second half stoppage time, when Rodrigues’ fantastic solo effort was finished with a thunderous strike that left no chance to Lezzerini. The goal gave PAOK all three points and kept them well in contention for second place in the group.
PAOK now sits in 3rd place in Group G with 7 points along with Qarabaq. On the final matchday, PAOK will host Slovan Liberec while Qarabag hosts Fiorentina, who have not mathematically secured first or second place in the group. PAOK will need to get a better result than Qarabag on the final matchday as they have a disadvantage in a head-to-head tie after losing both games to Qarabaq in group play.