Marko Dević was the hero for FC Metalist Kharkiv in Salonika, scoring both goals as the Ukrainian side secured a 2-0 first-leg lead against PAOK FC.
Metalist, who have won their opening three league games of the season, were forced to withstand concerted periods of PAOK pressure. They did so without undue alarm and prevailed courtesy of a goal in either half from Dević – the 29-year-old's fourth and fifth of the season in all competitions.
PAOK had the first meaningful opportunity to break the deadlock 30 minutes in, Stefanos Athanasiadis finding himself alone in the penalty area with only visiting keeper Vladimir Dišljenković to beat. He fluffed his lines, though, and PAOK were behind 12 minutes later. Dević did the damage from the penalty spot after Miguel Vítor had been punished for a handball. The Portuguese defender nearly made amends soon after the interval but he headed Lucas's corner narrowly over Dišljenković's crossbar.
Disaster then struck for PAOK when Jacobo left his goal unguarded with 18 minutes left, chasing after a long ball to no avail. Dević finished superbly, curling in from a long way out on the left. Metalist nearly made it three in the third minute of added time, but substitute Jonathan Cristaldo was denied by a post. Even so, PAOK have plenty of work to do if they are to make it to the play-offs.
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