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Benfica make light work of PAOK to progress

Published: Thursday 27 February 2014, 22.55CET
SL Benfica 3-0 PAOK FC (agg: 4-0)
A wonderful free-kick from Nicolás Gaitán sent last season's runners-up on their way to a commanding round of 32 victory.
Benfica make light work of PAOK to progress
Nicolás Gaitán is mobbed by his Benfica team-mates ©AFP/Getty Images
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Published: Thursday 27 February 2014, 22.55CET

Benfica make light work of PAOK to progress

SL Benfica 3-0 PAOK FC (agg: 4-0)
A wonderful free-kick from Nicolás Gaitán sent last season's runners-up on their way to a commanding round of 32 victory.

SL Benfica swept aside ten-man PAOK FC 3-0 in Lisbon to comfortably take their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16. 

Trailing 1-0 from the round of 32 first leg, PAOK were indebted to goalkeeper Panagiotis Glykos for not falling further behind in the first half. Their resolve was punctured, though, when former Benfica player Kostas Katsouranis was sent off and Nicolás Gaitán found the net from the resulting free-kick. A Lima penalty and a cool finish from fellow substitute Lazar Marković sealed a last-16 date with Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Last term's runners-up did most of the early running and were almost rewarded after ten minutes. Serbia playmaker Filip Djuričić executed a tidy through ball for Óscar Cardozo, who could only disturb the side netting after skipping past Glykos. At the other end, Lucas's speculative effort was trickling over the line before Artur made amends by clawing the ball back into his grasp.

Jorge Jesus's team continued to probe, with Eduardo Salvio eliciting a smart stop from Glykos, who then watched on as Gaitán's piledriver fizzed past a post. A venomous free-kick from Cardozo was also expertly beaten away by the PAOK custodian after taking a wicked deflection.

The Portuguese side refused to deviate from their patient, probing approach after the restart, with André Gomes's venomous 30-metre strike warming the palms of Glykos. Toiling to stay in the tie, the Greek outfit then came within a whisker of levelling it up when Ergys Kace's header narrowly evaded Katsouranis at the back post.

However, their uphill task because mountainous on 69 minutes as Katsouranis tripped Lima as he bore down on goal – and duly saw red. To make matters worse for Huub Stevens's men, Gaitán delightfully crafted the free-kick over the wall and into the corner. A handball from Hedwiges Maduro inside the area allowed Lima to score from the spot eight minutes later, before Marković raced clear of the PAOK defence and deftly flicked the ball past Glykos.

Last updated: 01/03/14 0.03CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000470/match=2012650/postmatch/report/index.html#benfica+breeze+past+paok

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