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PAOK lose to AEK in Greek league playoffs


Photo: PAOK

PAOK fell to a 1-0 defeat in their European playoff against AEK Athens, with Bakasetas finding the net for the home side.

AEK Athens XI: Anestis; Chygrynskiy; Didac; Kolovetsios; Christodoulopoulos; Mandalos; Bakakis; Simoes; Galanopoulos; Araujo; Bakasetas.

Brkic; Malezas; Crespo; Leovac; Matos; Canas; Cimirot; Charisis; Biseswar; Djalma; Prijovic.

Going into the game, PAOK knew that a win would all but guarantee their place in the Champions League playoff rounds for next season, however, a defeat would still leave it in their hands going into the final game against Panathinaikos.

AEK knew that only a comprehensive win would leave them with any chance of reaching the Champions League, although they are guaranteed a place in the Europa League.

As a result of AEK needing a big win and PAOK having to travel a relatively long distance to Athens for the game, AEK were the side pushing for the first goal, with Lazaros Christodoulopoulos coming close to opening the scoring.

However, PAOK created chances of their own with Charis Charisis trying his luck from an unlikely angle.

Former Udinese goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic did well to keep Christodouloupoulos out on numerous occasions, however, the deadlock was eventually broken with the attacking midfielder assisting Anastasios Bakesetas who turned his defender well and finished into the far bottom corner three minutes before the break.

PAOK were toothless in the second half, not helped by the fact that Angola international Djalma Campos was forced off with an injury. It seemed that PAOK were happy to settle for a small loss as this is effectively as good as a draw for them, as they allowed AEK to dominate possession.

In the closing stages, Stilianos Malezas received a second yellow and will be suspended for the crucial final playoff game against Panathinaikos.

The result means that AEK can no longer qualify for the Champions League, and will have to settle for a late Europa League qualifying game at best.

PAOK need to avoid defeat in midweek against Panathinaikos, in which Amr Warda will finally be eligible following his three-match suspension, to qualify for the Champions League qualifying rounds.

Match Reporter and Editor at Quantity surveyor from South East London. Support Leyton Orient and Inter at club level. Due to my mixed heritage I also support England, Egypt and Poland at national level. If it involves a stadium and a football then I'll watch it.

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