PAOK’s hopes of making it into the group stages of the Champions League took a major hit after they were defeated 2-0 by Ukraine’s Metalist Kharkiv in the first leg of the Champions League third qualifying round. As a result of this defeat, it looks highly unlikely that they will be seen in the group stages. PAOK were playing in front of empty stands after the club was given a ban due to the behaviour of its supporters. PAOK supporters were found guilty by an investigation by UEFA. As a result, the match was seen only by a handful of visiting supporters.
This is the first competitive game of the season for PAOK, and it looked like they were not really interested in the match, according to the best football blog. The Greek club made a number of errors over the course of the 90 min, which were duly punished by Metalist Kharkiv. Miguel Vitor gave away a cheap penalty in the 42nd minute through a handball, which was converted by Marko Devic. Then, it was a moment of individual brilliance from Marko Devic to make it a resounding lead for the Ukrainian club. The 2-0 defeat means that it is now highly unlikely that the Greek club will fancy their chances of appearing in the group stages.
Their manager was understandably disappointed after the match, but he is still hoping that his team can come up with a miracle in the second leg. Metalist could have made sure of the tie even more with a late third goal, but a combination of the woodwork and PAOK keeper Jacobo helped keep the score 2-0. This at least gives the Greek club a fighting chance of getting back into the competition when the return leg takes place in Ukraine next week. However, this match will certainly not be easy for PAOK.