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PAOK leave Shamrock languishing

PAOK FC 2-1 Shamrock Rovers FC
Goals from Costin Lazăr and Vieirinha put PAOK into a strong position in Group A and left Shamrock Rovers cast adrift at the foot of the table.

Rovers' James Paterson chases PAOK's Etto
Rovers' James Paterson chases PAOK's Etto ©Getty Images

Goals either side of half-time from Costin Lazăr and Vieirinha helped give PAOK FC a 2-1 victory against Shamrock Rovers FC, despite a fine goal from Karl Sheppard. The Greek side are now second in UEFA Europa League Group A, with the Irish outfit cast adrift at the bottom of the table.

Lazăr beat an unsighted Ryan Thompson on 12 minutes with a spectacular strike from 30 metres, after Rovers failed to clear their lines from a corner. Sheppard struck back soon after the interval, but Vieirinha had the final say, beating Thompson again with a low shot after 63 minutes.

PAOK earned a quick reward for a bright start, and would have further increased their lead moments after Lazăr's breakthrough, had Dan Murray not cleared off the line from the same player. Dimitris Salpingidis, Vieirinha and Vladimir Ivić all went close as PAOK utterly dominated, and Murray put in a saving challenge to deny Salpingidis on 35 minutes.

Rovers rode their luck and on 48 minutes their first-half resilience received an unlikely reward when Sheppard lost his marker and climbed well to head in Billy Dennehy's floated free-kick.

However, PAOK soon found their rhythm again and began to dominate. That pressure showed on 63 minutes when Vieirinha was allowed to run at the Rovers goal, and the exciting Portuguese midfielder shot low to Thompson's right, giving him no chance.

It was a lead that was rarely threatened, and the home side comfortably saw out the closing stages to condemn the Dublin side to their third straight defeat.

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