PAOK scored its first ever Champions League victory, downing FC Basel 2-1 on Tuesday for the third qualifying round, but still has a hard task ahead of it to make the tournament’s play-offs.
For a moment the Greek Cup holder was in full control of the home-and-away tie, leading 2-0 exactly 10 minutes from time, but the Swiss pulled one back a minute later to snatch a sweet defeat in the end, ahead of next week’s second leg in Switzerland.
The Thessaloniki club was nowhere near as impressive as at the end of last season, even though its line-up was largely unchanged from the Cup final against AEK.
Yet it still found a way through the Basel defense, as a spectacular left-foot long-range shot by Jose Alberto Canias flew into the Swiss net on the 32nd minute.
The match went on with both sides missing chances, but the crescendo of the 80th minute could have hardly been anticipated.
PAOK scored a second goal in a counterattack with Aleksandar Prijovic, but a minute later conceded a soft goal to Albian Ajeti who headed the ball home from close range, in front of PAOK keeper Alexandros Paschalakis.
The return leg will take place on August 1.