Angolan Djalma Campos scored a precious as well as beautiful away goal as PAOK snatched a 1-1 draw at Dutch giant Ajax on Tuesday in the first leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
The Thessaloniki club targets its first ever entry into the competition’s group stage, and will hope it will not squander the advantage it obtained through the away draw in the way it had done against Ajax six years ago.
PAOK survived a difficult first 20 minutes at the Amsterdam ArenA, during which it also had the woodwork to thank for not conceding a goal, before scoring on the break to silence the home crowd.
Djalma broke free from the right to capitalize on the unlikely exit of Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen outside his box, by trying a spectacular lob from a very tight angle and opening the score in Amsterdam after 26 minutes. The 2,000 PAOK fans at the stands went delirious.
The Greeks could not hold on to their lead by the hour mark though.
Kasper Dolberg equalized for Ajax on the 58th minute through a long-rage shot from outside the box that Panayiotis Glykos failed to push away.
PAOK managed to preserve this result in the rest of the game, and even got to threaten Ajax with a second goal on a couple of occasions.
The return leg of tie is taking place on Wednesday, August 3, at Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki.
In 2010 PAOK had also grabbed a 1-1 draw at Amsterdam, with current coach Vladan Ivic being the team’s scorer, but Ajax went through on the away goals rule by getting a 3-3 result in Thessaloniki a few days later.
Olympiakos, Greece’s other representative in the Champions League, is hosting Israeli champion Hapoel Beer Sheva on Wednesday evening in Piraeus.
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