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PAOK go top and eliminate Rovers

Shamrock Rovers FC 1-3 PAOK FC
A first-half brace from Dimitris Salpingidis and a Giorgos Fotakis strike put PAOK top of Group A and ended the hosts' hopes.

PAOK celebrate one of their three first-half goals
PAOK celebrate one of their three first-half goals ©Sportsfile

PAOK FC followed up their matchday three win against Shamrock Rovers FC with a resounding 3-1 victory in the Dublin return to move to the top of Group A.

Rovers went into the game knowing only maximum points would keep their faint Group A hopes alive, but the match was effectively over as a contest before half-time following two goals from Dimitris Salpingidis and another from Giorgos Fotakis. Billy Dennehy pulled one back after the restart, yet it was scant consolation.

The Greek club broke the deadlock on seven minutes when Vieirinha, who was instrumental throughout, sent Salpingidis through. The striker placed his shot delicately past the approaching Ryan Thompson and beyond the reach of a chasing defender.

PAOK started to dominate and doubled their lead on 35 minutes. Salpingidis turned provider, intercepting a misplaced pass and squaring to Fotakis, who calmly placed the ball to Thompson's right. Rovers' first-half woes were compounded three minutes later when Salpingidis latched on to a perfect cross from Giorgos Georgiadis and tapped in from five metres.

Shaken by that start, Rovers adopted a positive approach after the break and managed to claw a goal back, Dennehy curling a 51st-minute free-kick in off a post with expert precision to give the Dublin club a glimmer of hope.

It proved to be little more than a consolation, though, and László Bölöni's side saw out the rest of the game to claim a crucial win. They now lie a point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur FC, whom they visit on matchday five, and FC Rubin Kazan.

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