PAOK step closer to historic Champions League qualification after knocking out Benfica

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Greek Super League side PAOK are one step closer to qualifying for their first ever Champions League campaign after a surprise victory against former Portuguese champions Benfica.

A shock 2-1 victory for the Thessaloniki team means they will face a two-legged playoff against Russians Krasnodar.

An own goal by Jan Vertoghan saw PAOK lead in the second half, with players Dimitris Giannoulis and Chuba Akpom linking up to create great opportunities for the Greeks.

A shock 2-1 victory for the Thessaloniki team means they will face a two-legged playoff against Russians Krasnodar. Photo: Ekatherimini.

Benfica, who won Europe’s premier club competition in 1961 and 1962, saw last season’s woes spill over into this term as Serbia winger Andrija Zivkovic scored against his former club a week after leaving them.

Only 15 minutes to come back, the Portuguese side managed to secure a consolation goal in the fourth minute of time added-on via Rafa Silva.

Having seen the domestic league and cup double go to Porto last term, Benfica missed a string of chances against PAOK in a one-sided first half as they enjoyed 72% of possession.

PAOK will face Krasnodar next Tuesday in Russia and the return in Thessaloniki on September 29 or 30.

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