On Wednesday, starting with 20:00, the PAOK Thessaloniki – Krasnodar match will be played, within the Champions League play-off, return leg. In the round, the Russians won 2-1 “at home”, through the goals scored by Claesson (penalty) and Cabella, respectively Pelkas. The two teams also met in the group stage of the Europa League, 2015/2016 season, when Krasnodar won 2-1 at home, and away drew, score 0-0.
PAOK Thessaloniki needs to improve its performance to eliminate Krasnodar. The goal scored in Russia by Pelkas could prove decisive, but so could the penalty missed at 0-0 by the same Greek player. Claesson and Cabella brought the Russians victory, final score 2-1, but PAOK Thessaloniki proved an excellent game at home in these preliminaries. The Greeks have so far defeated “Toumba” Besiktas, score 3-1 and Benfica, score 2-1. The Greeks, coached by the Portuguese Abel Ferreira, are one step away from the first qualification in the Champions League groups, in the club’s history. With 8 appearances in the Europa League groups, PAOK Thessaloniki was eliminated twice in the League play-off.
Krasnodar scored the winning goal in the 70th minute through Cabella, but the second half belonged to the Greeks, who had more goal situations than Murad Musayev’s students. The “bulls” are for the second consecutive season in the Champions League play-off, but they never qualified in groups. The Russians were eliminated by Olympiakos Piraeus in 2019/2020, after a double defeat, 1-2 and 0-4. Unlike the previous season, when Krasnodar defeated FC Porto in the 3rd preliminary round, this time the Russians were placed directly in the play-off of the competition.
Krasnodar comes after an inconclusive evolution in Russia, 1-1 on the field of Sochi, which played half of the match in numerical inferiority. On the other hand, PAOK Thessaloniki drew with Volos, score 0-0. Even if the away team will qualify in the Champions League groups, we do not see an external victory in Thessaloniki, a field where it is difficult to win.
PAOK Thessaloniki won 3 Greek champion titles;
Razvan Lucescu’s former team has never played in the Champions League groups;
Krasnodar has not won any official trophy;
The Russians never qualified for the Champions League groups;