SPORTS

PAOK and Atromitos drop out of Europa League

PAOK and Atromitos crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday night after losing at Rapid Vienna and Newcastle respectively, leaving Panathinaikos as the only Greek club in the competition’s group stage.

One day after disturbances in the Vienna by PAOK supporters, some of whom were detained and then released Rapid won 3-0 in a very convincing fashion.

A bullet header by Deni Alar after 30 minutes gave the Austrians a 1-0 lead and the upper hand in the tie as PAOK had won 2-1 at home a week earlier.

In a rather similar fashion American striker Terrence Boyd doubled Rapid’s lead three minutes into the second half with PAOK proving particularly vulnerable to crosses into its defense.

The third goal was a collectors’ item: With PAOK pressing for the goal that would have sent the game into extra time, its keeper Panayiotis Glykos had gone to the Rapid box to challenge for a header in the last minute of injury time, but Rapid got the ball and Steffen Hofmann measured a shot from just behind the halfway line that rolled into the empty PAOK net.

What is more, influential Uruguayan midfielder Pablo Garcia got injured again in the game and will be sorely missed for some time by PAOK coach Giorgos Donis.

Atromitos, on the other hand, did its fans proud in northeastern England even though it lost 1-0 to mighty Newcastle. The Greeks pushed Newcastle all the way until the end and should have scored at St James’s Park.

Having drawn 1-1 at home, the Peristeri club was cautious in the first half but did not avoid conceding a goal. Haris Vuckic tried a long -range shot from the right-hand side of the Magpies’ attack that bounced in front of Atromitos keeper Charles Itandje and went into the net in the 21st minute.

Yet in the second half the Greeks were far more competitive and may have deserved a penalty that the referee denied them five minutes from time.