Triumph for PAOK, historic result for Asteras in Europa League

Greek teams produced a patchy record on the opening night of the Europa League group stage on Thursday, as PAOK thrashed Dynamo Minsk, Asteras Tripolis snatched a draw at Besiktas and Panathinaikos lost at home to Dynamo Moscow.

PAOK had Stefanos Athanasiadis score a first-half hat-trick in its 6-1 trouncing the team from Belarus, in a game that started with an own goal by Dinamo’s Nemanja Nikolic.

Substitute Dimitris Papadopoulos added his name to the scoresheet early in the second half, before Dinamo got reduced to 10 men. Fanis Tzandaris made it 6-1 after Nikoljc scored one on the right end, too.

Asteras Tripolis drew 1-1 in Istanbul as after Besiktas took a first-half lead with Gokhan Tore, the Peloponnesians stunned the Turks with an equalizer two minutes from the end through Facundo Parra.

This match at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium was the first ever for Asteras in the group stage of a European competition.

Panathinaikos lost 2-1 to a superior Dinamo Moscow in Athens. The rather inexperienced Greens trailed 2-0 through strikes by Alexander Kokorin and Aleksey Ionov four minutes before and after half-time and pulled one back via Thanassis Dinas just after the hour mark.

The Russians also struck the woodwork twice, but ensured they closed their ranks in the last half-hour to preserve their win.

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