SPORTS

PAOK beats Apollon and gets Ajax star on loan

By George Georgakopoulos

PAOK has all but clinched its spot in the Greek Cup semifinals after its 3-0 home win over Apollon Smyrnis in the first leg of the quarterfinals on Thursday, and is making some more moves in the transfer market to strengthen its side ahead of the league run-in and the next round of the Europa League.

The Thessaloniki giant had Svonimir Vukic score twice in the first half from set pieces, with Hedwiges Maduro adding the third in the second half. Apollon will have a mountain to climb in the return leg at Rizoupoli on February 13.

Ahead of the Europa League matches with Benfica, the Super League play-offs and probably the Cup semis with Olympiakos or Atromitos, PAOK has decided to strengthen its roster in the January transfer window.

A few days ago it announced the signing of Israel midfielder Bibras Natkho from Rubin Kazan until the end of the season, with an option to extend his contract further.

On Thursday it agreed with Ajax to acquire 23-year-old Danny Hoesen on loan until the summer. The man who scored the winning goal in Ajax’s 2-1 win over Barcelona earlier this season is expected in Thessaloniki on Friday.

PAOK has also agreed with Argentine midfielder Juan Manuel Insaurralde on a six-month loan from Spartak Moscow, and signed Austrian goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, formerly of Xanthi, for the next six months with an option for two more years.

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