Ten memorable moments from PAOK’s sensational season
After a sensational campaign which saw PAOK win the league/cup double, AGONAsport’s Athan Stylos looks back at 10 memorable moments from PAOK’s 2018/19 season.
PAOK - Olympiacos - 3:1 (Super League)
In what was a title-deciding clash between PAOK and Olympiacos, PAOK were 3:1 victors over their rivals in Thessaloniki to secure a nine-point buffer at the top of the table with 10 games remaining, practically securing the league title for the Dikefalos.
PAOK’s inspirational captain, Adelino Vieirinha, scored a stunning long-range goal to give the league leaders the advantage within three minutes. Dutch winger Diego Biseswar doubled PAOK’s lead soon afterwards in the 20th minute, and in the closing stages, Chuba Akpom secured the three points with a cool finish when clean through. Daniel Podence’s reply for Olympiacos was a little more than scant consolation.
PAOK - Spartak Moscow 3:2 (UEFA Champions League qualifying)
PAOK completed a remarkable first leg comeback in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League against Spartak Moscow after falling behind 0:2 within the first 17 minutes. When all seemed lost, PAOK responded with three first half goals of their own in the space of 15 minutes from Aleksandar Prijovic, Dimitris Limnios, and Dimitris Pelkas to grab an advantage in which they were able to hold onto in Russia the following week (0:0).
Although PAOK advanced to the final qualifying round, they fell to Benfica over two legs.
PAOK - AEK Athens 1:0 (Cup Final)
With PAOK searching for their third consecutive Greek Cup triumph over AEK Athens, the hype of this Final was not as impactful due to the absence of fans within the stadium. PAOK, however, proved yet again that they held the edge over their rivals as they celebrated the Cup title with a 1:0 win thanks to an outstanding goal scored by Chuba Akpom.
This win secured PAOK’s first league/cup double in club history.
Aris – PAOK 1:2 (Super League)
PAOK completed a come from behind victory over their arch rivals Aris in the return of the Thessaloniki Derby in the Greek top flight. PAOK found themselves behind early on after Aris’ Mateo Garcia found the back of the net, however Aleksandar Prijovic converted a penalty before half-time to pull PAOK level. Prijovic again popped up in the 84th minute to complete a famous derby win for the Dikefalos tou Vorra. Alexandros Paschalakis also played a key role as he saved a penalty to secure all three points for the Toumba side.
Panetolikos - PAOK - 1:2 (Super League)
PAOK found themselves in a tough contest against Panetolikos on matchday 25, and in the 55th minute, Admir Bajrovic gave the hosts the lead from the penalty spot. Nevertheless, PAOK’s championship winning resilience and character came to the rescue, as two goals from veterans Vieirinha and Leo Matos overturned the scoreline in a space of four minutes. The win was another morale boosting one as PAOK inched closer to their long-awaited Super League title.
PAOK - Panionios 4:2, 5:4 agg (Greek Cup quarter-finals)
PAOK were defeated 2:1 in Nea Smyrni by Panionios in the first leg of the Greek Cup quarter-finals to set up an interesting second leg. The return match at the Toumba Stadium was a thriller to say the least. PAOK pulled ahead through Biseswar in the 32nd minute, but Fiorin Durmishaj quickly responded for the visitors to level the score on the night and give Panionios a vital away goal. Panionios were close to shocking the Thessalonikis as they held a 1:1 draw, however Karol Swiderski re-gave PAOK the lead on the night, 2:1, with seven minutes remaining and sent the game into extra time, 2:2 on aggregate.
Panionios, however, silenced the home fans with Oumar Camara’s 94th minute goal to give the visitors a second away marker and the lead on aggregate 2:3 (2:2 on the night). PAOK needed two goals to advance and Chuba Akpom scored in the 114th minute to bring back hope for the hosts. In the dying moments, PAOK were awarded a penalty and it was none other than the captain, Vieirinha, who stepped up to convert the spot kick and send PAOK into the semi-finals with a 5:4 win on aggregate (4:2 on the night).
PAOK - AEK - 2:0 (Super League)
PAOK comfortably defeated AEK at the Toumba Stadium in the Super League’s first derby of the season in a rematch of last season’s top two teams. PAOK’s target man, Aleksandar Prijovic, scored a goal in each half to secure PAOK’s revenge.
This win gave PAOK an enormous amount of confidence heading into the rest of the season, and considering the shocking scenes witnessed in this fixture in the 2017/2018 campaign, it came as sweet redemption.
PAOK - PAS Giannina - 2:1 (Super League)
In only his second appearance for his new club, Polish striker Karol Swiderski announced himself onto the Super League in some style, striking a last-gasp winning goal for PAOK against PAS Giannina as the game headed for a controversial draw. Swiderski had only just transferred a few days prior from Jagiellonia for two million euros.
Olympiacos - PAOK - 0:1 (Super League)
The two main title contenders faced off on matchday five of the campaign in Piraeus. PAOK were forced to sit back with Olympiacos attacking powerfully, but thanks to a clumsy own goal from Jagos Vukovic and superb goalkeeping from Alexandros Paschalakis, the Dikefalos tou Vorra somehow came away with all three points. It was a victory which was pivotal for the season ahead as PAOK jumped to an early lead in the title run.
Benfica - PAOK 1:1 (UEFA Champions League qualifying)
PAOK came away with a 1:1 draw in their first leg tie of the UEFA Champions League playoff qualifying round in Portugal against Benfica. Although the Portuguese outfit were dominant, constantly testing Alexandros Paschalakis, his magnificent saves kept the visitors in the tie as only a late penalty from Pizzi gave Benfica a slight 1:0 advantage at half-time.
In the second half, the momentum slightly shifted towards the Greek’s advantage with Amr Warda scoring the equaliser past Benfica’s goalkeeper, Odisseas Vlachodimos, to give PAOK a positive result heading back to Thessaloniki.
Unfortunately, the Dikefalos failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stages as they were put to the sword with a heavy 1:4 defeat in Toumba.