Rémy Cabella’s tap-in earned Krasnodar an advantage in their UEFA Champions League play-off opener against PAOK.

Krasnodar vs PAOK: as it happened, reaction

Match in brief

Matvei Safonov saved a Dimitris Pelkas penalty early on, but the striker atoned for his error, flicking Andrija Živković’s ball past Safonov to give PAOK the lead. However, a foul in the box at the other end brought another spot kick before the interval; Viktor Claesson also sent his effort straight down the middle, but his penalty found the net.

PAOK looked bright at the start of the second half, Omar El Kaddouri rattling the post with a shot on 68 minutes, but they fell behind not long after. Marcus Berg flicked over goalkeeper Živko Živković as Krasnodar made a rapid break into the area, and Cabella crashed the ball into the unguarded net.


Dimitris Pelkas celebrates opening the scoring

Dimitris Pelkas celebrates opening the scoringSputnik via AFP

Artur Petrosyan, Krasnodar reporter

Shaky at the back, Krasnodar gave the visitors far too much room and looked disorganised after losing possession. With the Bulls not showing much up front, PAOK appeared the better side before half-time and controlled the game after it too. The final score is all that matters, but Krasnodar will need to do some homework if they want to hold on to this advantage.

Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, PAOK reporter

PAOK could have got much more out of this encounter. They wasted a penalty, struck the post and ended up losing despite taking the lead in Russia. They still have 90 minutes to turn the tie around in Salonika next week, and they showed today that they have what it takes to do that. For much of this match, they were in command, and they successfully contained Krasnodar’s impressive forward line.

Reaction

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Key stats

  • Krasnodar have won their last three European home matches.
  • A third goal in two games for Claesson; two in two for Cabella. Both scored in Friday’s 7-2 league win against Khimki.
  • PAOK have not kept a clean sheet in 15 European matches since a 0-0 draw against Spartak Moskva in 2018.
  • The Greek side have already eliminated Beşiktaş and Benfica this season with home wins in Salonika.

Lineups


Matvei Safonov saved a first-half penalty

Matvei Safonov saved a first-half penaltySputnik via AFP

Krasnodar: Safonov; Ramírez, Sorokin, Kaio, Petrov; Vilhena, Olsson, Cabella (Utkin 81); Claesson, Berg, Wanderson (Suleymanov 86)

PAOK: Živko Živković, Michailidis, Varela, Ingason, Crespo; Giannoulis, Schwab, El Kaddouri, Andrija Živković; Pelkas (Biseswar 79), Tziolis (Świderski 84)

What’s next?

The second leg takes place in Salonika on Wednesday 30 September. The winner enters the draw for the UEFA Champions League group stage, staged in Nyon on 1 October.

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