PAOK and AEK scored their first victories in the Europa League group phase on Thursday to boost their chances of graduating to the knockout stages. If AEK was always considered a better team than its host, Zorya Luhansk, PAOK’s 4-1 triumph over PSV Eindhoven is a historic one.
In the European debut of Uruguayan coach Pablo Garcia, PAOK scored four goals in 20 minutes to crush PSV at Toumba, as its tactics of counter-attacks exposed the Dutch defense time and again in the second half.
The visitors led 1-0 by half-time thanks to an Eran Zahavi penalty and could have extended their lead given their chances.
However PAOK was entirely different in the second half, when it came out with all guns blazing to score four times by the 66th minute: Stefan Schwab equalized, Andrija Zivkovic made it 2-1, Christos Tzolis scored PAOK’s third and Zivkovic put the icing on the cake.
The result has put PAOK on five points from three games in the group, ahead of its visit to Eindhoven in three weeks’ time.
AEK also won 4-1, but played away from home, at Zaporizhia, where Zorya Luhansk plays its home games due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Muamer Tankovic gave AEK a sixth-minute lead, with Petros Mantalos doubling the Yellows’ advantage before half-time.
Two more goals, both by Marko Livaja in the second half, completed the routing of Zorya, that only pulled one back through Vladyslav Kochergin.
AEK has therefore collected its first three points in the group and in its next game it will host the Ukrainians in Athens on November 26.
On Wednesday for Greece's Super League, Larissa came from behind to beat host PAS Giannina 2-1.