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Vukić strike turns the tables on Shakhter

PAOK FC 2-1 FC Shakhter Karagandy
Substitute Zvonimir Vukić's late header denied the Kazakh champions a first Group L point in Salonika.

Zvonimir Vukić enjoys his last-gasp winner
Zvonimir Vukić enjoys his last-gasp winner ©Getty Images

Zvonimir Vukić got his head to a last-gasp free-kick as PAOK FC salvaged victory from the jaws of defeat against UEFA Europa League Group L underdogs FC Shakhter Karagandy.

The 34-year-old striker met fellow substitute Lino's aggressively flighted ball and beat Aleksandr Mokin in the dying seconds, with the Kazkh champions buckling after Andrei Poryvaev's dismissal for a second bookable offence. Roger Cañas had earlier put the group stage debutants ahead from the penalty spot, but Stefanos Athanasiadis got a forceful touch to a corner with 15 minutes to go to revive PAOK.

For long periods it looked as if PAOK could pick their guests off at will. Lucas drove hard at Aleksandr Mokin early on as the Shakhter goalkeeper's nerves were thoroughly tested, though he just about came out unscathed, producing a fingertip save to divert a swirling Sotiris Ninis effort over his crossbar.

Shakhter sporadically gave as good as they got; Jacobo was forced to scramble the ball over after Aldin Džidić had connected a head with Gediminas Vičius's long throw, before Cañas sent the PAOK No1 scrambling with a drive across the face of goal from out on the right.

Disaster struck for PAOK after the break when Kostas Katsouranis impeded Cañas in the area, with the Colombian midfielder smacking the ensuing penalty kick straight down the middle and into the net. Costin Lazăr then had the Shakhter crossbar shuddering with a furious shot from distance, but luck momentarily smiled on PAOK when Džidić and Vičius contrived to pass up a gilt-edge opportunity following a well worked free-kick.

It was to be a costly error, with PAOK finally finding the traction they had been fumbling for when Athanasiadis met Lucas' corner with a firm boot at the far post, Vukić turning one point into three at the death.

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