Stadio Toumba - Salonika 12/12/2013 - 21:05CET (22:05 local time)

Group stage - Group L

PAOK - AZ
2-2
 

PAOK - AZ 2-2 - 12/12/2013 - Match page - UEFA Europa League 2014

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Salpingidis sneaking into history with PAOK

Published: Monday 9 December 2013, 12.50CET
"I see the ball, my opponent's position and I don't blink," said PAOK FC striker Dimitris Salpingidis who is quietly stalking his way into the UEFA Europa League record books.
by Vassiliki Papantonopoulou
from Athens
Salpingidis sneaking into history with PAOK
Dimitris Salpingidis is creeping his way up the all-time rankings in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League ©Getty Images
 

Suspensions and injuries

Reported player injuries

  • SuspendedSuspended
  • InjuredInjured
  • DoubtfulDoubtful
Last updated: 31/03/2014 18:04 CET

Tournament statistics

PAOK
AZ

8

Goals scored

6

55

Possession (%)

61

76

Total attempts

68

31

on target

24

28

off target

35

17

blocked

9

4

against woodwork

1

37

Corners

16

16

Offsides

5

6

Yellow cards

3

0

Red Cards

0

53

Fouls committed

72

59

Fouls suffered

38

2280

Passes

2663

1842

completed

2192

Press kits

Last updated: CET

Standings

Group L

PPts
PAOK FC PAOK511
AZ Alkmaar AZ511
Maccabi Haifa FC M. Haifa52
FC Shakhter Karagandy Shakhter52
Last updated: 13/12/2013 02:25 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
  
Published: Monday 9 December 2013, 12.50CET

Salpingidis sneaking into history with PAOK

"I see the ball, my opponent's position and I don't blink," said PAOK FC striker Dimitris Salpingidis who is quietly stalking his way into the UEFA Europa League record books.

If Dimitris Salpingidis takes the field in PAOK FC's final Group L game, at home to AZ Alkmaar on Thursday, he will make his 67th appearance in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League.

Not a particularly attractive number, but one that carries a certain significance for the 32-year-old forward since it will move him up to fourth place – alongside Walid Badier – in the competition's all-time appearances list. Two more in the round of 32 would take him level with FC Internazionale Milano's two-time UEFA Cup-winning goalkeeper Walter Zenga in third. Moreover, a third group stage goal this season would lift him to seventh in the overall scorers rankings on 24 goals, alongside Mladen Petrić and Claudio Pizarro.

The tournament has played a significant role in Salpingidis's career; his maiden goal for PAOK came on his first-team debut when he was introduced as a substitute for Zisis Vryzas – now PAOK's president – in a UEFA Cup game against FC Lokomotivi Tbilisi on 30 September 1999. Meanwhile, his 100th goal for the 'Two-Headed Eagle Of The North' arrived in PAOK's first meeting with AZ of the current campaign. Oddly enough, both landmark goals were scored under Dutch coaches: Arie Haan in 1999 and Huub Stevens in 2013.

Born in Salonika, Salpingidis started out as a Greco-Roman wrestler before discovering his calling in football. "I am from Salonika and have supported PAOK all my life," the interview-shy striker once said. He joined the club aged 16 and became a striking talisman, with his 2006 departure for Panathinaikos FC the cause of much concern for the then cash-strapped side. He scored regularly and won a Super League title in Athens, yet has continued to find the target since returning to PAOK in 2010.

Greece have also been grateful for his finishing prowess. It was Salpingidis's play-off goal against Ukraine that took Greece to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and he is the only Greek player to have scored at both a UEFA European Championship and a World Cup. "I can't explain why I get to score crucial goals," Salpingidis said. "My only concern is for the team to win and I do my best to contribute. Goals are also a matter of luck. I see the ball, my opponent's position and I don't blink – I just shoot to score."

That down-to-earth style is Salpingidis all over. He rarely demands attention, but woe betide the opposition defence that lets him out of their sight. Having already notched three times against AZ in past European tussles, he is eager to make his mark again as the already qualified teams reconvene, battling for top spot in Group L. "Qualifying for the last 32 with a match to spare was a success," he said. "I hope we can go further in the competition, but we need to secure first place and then see who we land in the draw. We have to be consistent in our performances and also have luck in order to get beyond the last 32."

Consistency and good luck (the kind you work for), as he has shown throughout his career, are two of Salpingidis's strong points.

Last updated: 12/12/13 15.11CET

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http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000469/match=2012618/prematch/preview/index.html#salpingidiss+milestones

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