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PAOK primed for Udinese decider

PAOK FC will look for a repeat of their 2000/01 success against Udinese Calcio after a 0-0 draw in Italy edged them closer to a round of 16 meeting with AZ Alkmaar or RSC Anderlecht.

Antonio Floro Flores (right) tries to lift the ball over PAOK goalkeeper Dario Krešić
Antonio Floro Flores (right) tries to lift the ball over PAOK goalkeeper Dario Krešić ©Getty Images

PAOK FC are within sight of a UEFA Europa League round of 16 meeting with AZ Alkmaar or RSC Anderlecht after drawing 0-0 at Udinese Calcio in the first leg of their last-32 tie.

• Having eliminated Udinese once before, PAOK held firm at the Stadio Friuli, though Almen Abdi hit a post for the home side early on in a game where the injury-enforced absence of top scorer Antonio Di Natale may have been a factor.

Previous meetings
• Dušan Bajević's PAOK came out on top in the sides's only previous meetings, in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup second round; Luigi De Canio's Udinese won the first leg 1-0, but PAOK levelled the tie in the second leg and went on to add two more goals without reply in extra time.

• All four goals were scored by substitutes: Massimo Margiotta in the first leg, Patricio Camps (2) and Nikolaos Froussos in the second.

• The teams for the return fixture at the Toumbas Stadium on 9 November 2000 were:
PAOK: Tochoroglou, Borbokis, Venetidis, Bratić (Camps 65), Konstantinidis, Nalitzis (Jafes 119), Okkas (Froussos 74), Chasiotis, Udeze, Koulakiotis, Tetradze.
Udinese: Turci, Bertotto, Sottil, Sosa, Fiore, Pinzi, Giannichedda (Margiotta 71), Jørgensen, Zamboni, Alberto (Helguera 77), Díaz (Esposito 104).

• Giampiero Pinzi, who is still with Udinese 11 years on, played in both legs as did Pantelis Konstantinidis, now PAOK's sporting director.

Match background
• PAOK's record in nine games against Italian sides is W1 D3 L5 (W1 D2 L1 at home). That 2000 Udinese success was their sole win against teams from Serie A.

• PAOK are unbeaten in 12 European fixtures, including five at home − three wins and two draws.

• Udinese's record in seven games against Greek sides is W4 D1 L2 (W1 D0 L2 in Greece). They have lost both of their previous two-legged ties against Hellenic opponents, to PAOK in 2000/01 and Panionios GSS in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup.

• This is Udinese's third tilt at the round of 32; they beat RC Lens in 2005/06 and KKS Lech Poznań in 2008/09.

• PAOK reached the round of 32 for the first time since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage last season, bowing out with a 1-0 home defeat and 1-1 draw at PFC CSKA Moskva.

Team facts
• PAOK are the brightest starters in the competition with five of their 10 goals since the start of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League group stage coming in the opening 15 minutes.

• Udinese have scored six goals since the start of the UEFA Europa League group stage, averaging just under a goal a game.

• PAOK's Etto took on Udinese in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, his GNK Dinamo Zagreb side losing 2-1 in Italy.

• Udinese's Dušan Basta took on Kostas Chalkias, Vladimir Ivić and Sakis Papazoglou when FK Crvena zvezda visited PAOK's city rivals Aris Thessaloniki FC in the 2007/8 UEFA Cup group stage; Papazoglou came off the bench to score twice in a 3-0 Aris win.

• PAOK's former president Theodoros Zagorakis (Bologna FC, 2004/05) and current president and CEO Zisis Vryzas (AC Perugia 2000-03, ACF Fiorentina 2004-05, Torino FC 2006) both played in Italy, as did Pablo García (Milan 2001, AC Venezia 2002).

• PAOK's Italian defender Bruno Cirillo counts Reggina Calcio, FC Internazionale Milano, US Lecce and AC Siena among his former clubs.

• Udinese defender Medhi Benatia and PAOK midfielder Bertrand Robert were team-mates at FC Lorient in 2007/08 though they never played in a competitive game together, Benatia missing much of the season with a serious knee injury.

• Capped 108 times by Romania as a midfielder, PAOK coach László Bölöni has been involved with three other clubs in this season's round of 32; he won domestic titles as a player with FC Steaua Bucureşti (1984-87) and as a coach at Sporting Clube de Portugal (2001-03) and R. Standard de Liège (2008-10).

• Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin spent the bulk of his playing days with Hellas-Verona FC. His coaching career included a stint in France at AS Monaco FC in 2005/06. Since then he has been in charge of US Città di Palermo and Parma FC, taking over for a second spell at Udinese in 2010. He successfully guided Monaco through the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage but missed out with Palermo the following season.

• Bölöni replaced Guidolin as Monaco coach in 2006 but lasted barely three months in the job.

Round of 16
• The winners of this tie will take either AZ Alkmaar or RSC Anderlecht in the round of 16 on 8 and 15 March, playing the second leg at home.

• Udinese have met neither of their potential opponents in UEFA competition.

• PAOK have never come across Anderlecht, but took on AZ in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup first round, losing 3-2 in Salonika and 2-1 in Alkmaar.

Competition statistics
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here: