PSV has gotten through the eye of the needle against PAOK Saloniki and is still competing for a place in the next round of the Europa League with two games to go. Things threatened to go wrong at home, but after the break, Roger Schmidt’s team repaired the damage: 3-2.
PSV has started the Europa League campaign badly. Only the game with Omonia Nicosia was (narrowly) won, Granada CF and PAOK were lost. In Greece, the Eindhoven team lost 4-1. As a result, PSV was only on three points.
A similar scenario also seemed to present itself on Thursday evening. PSV was eager for revenge, but was already 0-1 behind in no time. Fernando Varela went crazy after four minutes and gave PSV a downer early on. The home team seemed to recover with the equalizer by Donyell Malen, but his goal was disallowed due to offside. Incomprehensible, because Malen was about two meters before the finish. There is no VAR in the Europa League, so that party was canceled.
It seemed to be a pitch-black evening for PSV when PAOK came to 0-2 in the Philips Stadium after the 1-1 was rejected. Noni Madueke let himself be cut out too easily on the sidelines and the following cross was shot in from close by by Christos Tzolis. A losing game threatened, but PSV’s comeback was not long in coming. Cody Gakpo quickly made 1-2 and gave his team hope again with the connection goal. In the event of a loss, PSV would have been eliminated from the Europa League after four matches.
PSV did not want to be against PAOK from Eran Zahavi. The striker, who is unable to find his way, was standing on an island, hardly played a significant role and was dependent on the whims of Madueke, Malen and Gakpo, which made it difficult for PAOK’s defense. The equalizer did not yield that. At least, not for rest.
PSV was unleashed from the dressing room and quickly repaired the damage. Madueke scored five minutes after half time and Malen also poked in three minutes later, making it suddenly 3-2. Rightly so, because after the 0-2 PAOK had nothing more to say and the Greeks fell far back to their own half. PSV failed to close the game early on.
But PSV was not safe for a moment, despite an obvious preponderance. The PAOK counters were dangerous and therefore Schmidt opted for more certainty halfway through the second half. He brought in Jorrit Hendrix for Zahavi, who played like a newspaper. In the last few minutes, PAOK decided to play all or nothing and Diego Biseswar was taken from the stable, but he couldn’t do anything for his side.
PSV is in second place in Group E, four points behind leader Granada. That will be the opponent next week in Spain. PAOK will meet Omonia Nicosia and can overcome PSV if the team from Eindhoven lose.
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