PAOK tear apart hapless Panathinaikos

PAOK tear apart hapless Panathinaikos


PAOK 4 - 0 Panathinaikos
Pelkas 8',51'
Koulouris (P) 68'
Prijovic 77'

PAOK piled on the misery for Panathinaikos on Sunday, thumping a below-par Greens 4-0 at the Toumba in a tense matchday 14 North-South derby clash to climb into second place in the SuperLeague table.

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PAOK were in command from start to finish in Salonica as two goals from midfielder Dimitris Pelkas and a goal apiece from strikers Efthimis Koulouris and Aleksandar Prijović sealing a comprehensive victory for Razvan Lucescu’s team.

Both teams finished with 10 players as tempers boiled over late on, with Robert Mak seeing red for PAOK after Panathinaikos’ Argentine defender Emanuel Insúa had earlier been dismissed.

The result moved PAOK up to second place in the standings just one point behind Olympiacos, who were 4-1 winners at Panaitolikos on Saturday. AEK, who are one point further behind in third place, can reclaim top spot when they host Kerkyra on Monday. Panathinaikos remain down in 11th place, with 15 points.

While PAOK produced a powerful display, it was a desperate performance from Panathinaikos, who were outplayed for long spells amid a white hot atmosphere at the Toumba, where fans were allowed to attend for the first time this season.
The home side began the match strongly with Pelkas and Mak full of energy trying to unsettle the visitors defenders with some slick passing and direct play.

And it was Greece international Pelkas who opened the scoring, beating Panathinaikos goalkeeper Sokratis Dioudis with a superb long range strike in the eighth minute after making some space for himself just outside the box.

The diminutive 24-year-old midfielder then made it 2-0 six minutes after half-time, clipping a fine finish over Dioudis after latching on to José Ángel Crespo’s pass.

A crucial moment then came in the 68th minute when Panathinaikos were reduced to 10 players when Insúa was sent off for picking up a second yellow card for a handball which led to a penalty award for the hosts.

Insúa headed down the tunnel while Koulouris converted from 12 yards to make it 3-0 and the match was over as a contest at that point.

Prijović added some gloss on the scoreline after 77 minutes when he controlled Crespo’s pass and turned smartly before beating Dioudis with a clinical finish.

Two minutes later and the numbers were evened up when Mak was shown a straight red card for an altercation with Greens Argentine midfielder Lucas Villafanez.

That dismissal had no adverse effect on the outcome as PAOK celebrated a deserved victory in front of their fans for the first time this season, due to the fact that all of their home matches have been played behind closed doors due to punishments from crowd disturbances last season.

by Graham Wood
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