PAOK ease past Shamrock
PAOK Salonika defeated Shamrock Rovers 2-1 at home in their Europa League Group A encounter on Thursday evening.
Last Updated: 20/10/11 10:37pm
PAOK Salonika defeated Shamrock Rovers 2-1 at home in their UEFA Europa League encounter on Thursday evening to go second behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur in Group A.
The Greek side took the lead at the Toumbas Stadium after just 12 minutes when Costin Lazar found the target from outside the Rovers' penalty area.
It remained 1-0 to the hosts going into the half-time interval but three minutes into the second half, the visitors from the Republic of Ireland equalised when Karl Sheppard headed home Billy Dennehy's floated free-kick.
However, PAOK bagged the win to climb up to second on five points from three matches when Vieirinha scored from over 20 yards on 63 minutes.
Lazar's stunning goal from 30 yards came after Shamrock failed to clear their lines from a corner.
Dan Murray scuffed his clearance of Dorvalino Lino's outswinging corner and the ball fell at the feet of Lazar, who blasted it past Ryan Thompson from 30 yards as the goalkeeper remained rooted to the spot.
It was always going to be an uphill battle for the travelling Rovers in north Greece and they were forced to weather wave after wave of attacks from the Thessaloniki-based side.
But Dennehy almost equalised Lazar's early goal when he broke upfield in the 19th minute only for his powerful strike to miss everyone in the box and fly past the right post.
PAOK squandered a good chance a minute later when they raced up the left wing, but Lazar's shot from the left of the area was blocked by Pat Sullivan just in front of goal.
Despite their best efforts, Shamrock were opened up again after half an hour when Vieirinha had the chance to double the lead but the Portuguese winger got caught under the ball and his shot flew over the bar.
Shamrock began to show more potential when James Paterson broke upfield, but his counter attacking run to come to nothing when he put too much power onto his cross and the ball flew past the right post.
Lazar then had a penalty shot turned down when he was fouled by Ken Oman on the edge of the area after a clumsy challenge but referee Tony Asumaa waved play on.
After the break, it was Shamrock who immediately seized the initiative when Dennehy won a free-kick on the right side of the area and delivered a testing ball which found the unmarked Sheppard on the far post.
The midfielder was unchallenged and climbed the highest to head home the equaliser, to the delight of the travelling fans.
Shamrock settled into the second half and started to absorb the pressure from PAOK more comfortably, but they created few chances themselves.
It took the home side another moment of brilliance to regain the lead, when Vladimir Ivic linked up with Vieirinha, who fired his right-footed shot into the top-left corner of goal just as Shamrock looked to be gaining a foothold in the game.
The score gave PAOK more impetus and they peppered Thompson with more shots on goal, but the Shamrock 'keeper was able to deny the Greek side their third.Dennehy almost helped Shamrock earn a draw in the dying seconds but Chalkias punched his inswinging corner to safety to seal the home win.
|PAOK Salonika||Team Statistics||Shamrock Rovers|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||1|
|10||Shots off Target||1|