PAOK draws first blood in playoffs

PAOK won the opening game of this season’s Super League playoffs, beating Panathinaikos 2-1 at home.

Goals from Stefanos Athanasiadis and Nabil El Zhar allowed the Thessaloniki side to secure a positive start to the post-season procedure that will determine Greece’s second representative to the Champions League, after champion Olympiakos.

The first half was a rather dull affair, with the two sides struggling with the strong wind at the Toumba Stadium.

The second half started with more passion from both sides and as the rain started coming down PAOK took the lead through a great close-range volley by Athanasiadis in the 57th minute.

PAOK doubled its lead in the 75th to throw the playoffs wide open through an El Zhar strike after a great through-ball by man of the match Adelino Vieirinha.

Panathinaikos could only pull one back four minutes later as the league’s top scorer in the regular season, Djibril Cisse, headed in a Loukas Vyntra cross from the right.

Panathinaikos and PAOK are now tied on three points.

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