Akpom on target as PAOK defeat Lincoln Red in Europa Conference League


Chuba Akpom inspired PAOK Thessaloniki to a 2-0 victory over Lincoln Red Imps in the Europa League game played at Victoria Stadium on Thursday.

The eligible Nigeria striker struck on the stroke of half-time to put his side ahead before Alexandru Ionut Mitrita scored second after the break.

Akpom’s first chance came in the 17th minute. He managed to get into the danger zone, passed two defenders before landing a fierce strike but straight towards the keeper.

The visitors looked stronger on offense but the defenders kept their discipline to make sure they didn’t concede.

Another chance for the ex-Arsenal man came in the 36th minute when he broke free, but a last-resort tackle from the defender saved the day for the hosts.

It looked like both teams will go to the break without scoring a goal, but in the second minute of added time that changed. Lucas Taylor found Akpom who had no problem typing at point blank range.

The Greek team continued to push for another goal with Akpom coming close twice.

But it was his teammate who doubled the advantage in the 56th minute. The defenders failed to clear the ball into the danger zone and it fell on Ionut Mitrita who unleashed a fierce strike in front of the goalkeeper.

It was a goal that put more pressure on the opponents and the frustration was evident. Goalkeeper Lolo Soler had to be cautioned for alleged vulgar language which on other occasions would have earned him a red card.

The keeper had to be vigilant to prevent PAOK from scoring a third goal in the 79th minute. Thomas Murg received a lobed pass into the area and looked ready to hit the target, but Soler made a decent save to deny it.

The hosts ended the match on a high note. Joseph Chipolina beat his markers before firing a rocket, but with the keeper well beaten, the ball crashed into the bar and bounced back to safety.

PAOK are now second in Group F with maximum points, as are leaders FC Copenhagen, who have a better goal difference after beating Slovan Bratislava 3-1.

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