PAOK Blitz Past Under-Strength Greens
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 27
|PAOK||3 - 0||Panathinaikos|
PAOK produced a powerful display to brush aside an under-strength Panathinaikos 3-0 at the Toumba on Sunday and kept their slim SuperLeague title dreams alive.
Brazilian midfielder Pedro Henrique gave PAOK an 18th-minute lead with a clinical low finish, while further first-half strikes from Croatian defender Marin Leovac (27) and Ukrainian Yevhen Shakhov (35) put PAOK firmly in control against a shell-shocked Panathinaikos.
The result - combined with Olympiacos’ unexpected 1-1 draw at lowly Levadiakos - allowed PAOK to cut the gap between themselves and the Erythrolefki to six points with two matches remaining.
The Greens were unrecognisable from the team which has swept all before them in recent weeks - in more ways than one as Greens coach Marinos Ouzounidis opted to rest his top stars and used a clutch of fringe players in view of the upcoming Greek Cup semi-final tie against PAOK.
That was all the motivation a pumped up Toumba needed, and PAOK proved too much for Ouzounidis’ men, who struggled to create any worthy scoring chances throughout a tough 90 minutes without talismanic striker Marcus Berg.
It was more of the same in terms of possession after the break, with PAOK controlling the play for long spells and looking dangerous whenever they broke into the final third.
Panathinaikos, who host PAOK in the first leg of their Greek Cup semi-final contest on Wednesday, will have to regroup and finish the league campaign as strongly as possible in order to get themselves in a good position for the start of the SuperLeague playoffs.