SPORTS

PAOK fails once again to make Champions League groups

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

PAOK lost to Krasnodar for the second time in eight days with a 2-1 score to miss out once again on the lucrative Champions League group stage, where it has never managed to qualify to.

On Wednesday PAOK needed a 1-0 win to overturn its 2-1 loss in Russia on September 22, but lost by the same score again for an aggregate triumph of 4-2 for the Russian club.

The first hour of the match at Toumba was a waiting game, with PAOK unable to translate its superiority into goals.

The score eventually opened on the 73rd as Igor Smolnikov crossed the ball in PAOK’s area and Giannis Michailidis sent the ball into his own net with an unintended back heel.

The Thessaloniki team immediately regrouped and managed to go back on level terms on the night with a Omar El Kaddouri header from a Stefan Schwab free-kick on the 77th.

Yet barely a minute after the equalizer Remy Cabella restored Krasnodar’s lead after collecting the rebound from a Tonny Vilhena shot that hit the woodwork.

It was a shame for PAOK that had managed to eliminate names such as Benfica and Besiktas on the way to the playoffs to go out to Krasnodar.

PAOK will continue in the Europa League group stage, with the draw taking place on Friday. AEK is hoping to join it when it hosts Wolfsburg on Thursday.

Online