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PAOK still on track after Maccabi Haifa draw

Maccabi Haifa FC 0-0 PAOKFC
The visitors from Greece sit joint top of UEFA Europa League Group L after an even contest in Haifa which neither team could decide in their favour.

Eyal Golasa of Maccabi Haifa and PAOK's Alexandros Tziolis battle for the ball
Eyal Golasa of Maccabi Haifa and PAOK's Alexandros Tziolis battle for the ball ©AFP/Getty Images

PAOK FC remain well on target for a qualifying spot in UEFA Europa League Group L after settling for a point against Maccabi Haifa FC in Israel.

In an even first half, PAOK enjoyed the only clear-cut chance when Miroslav Stoch forced Bojan Šaranov into a fine save. Hen Erza struck the woodwork for the hosts after the break, but they could not find a way to secure a first win of the group stage, leaving themselves and FC Shakhter Karagandy six points behind PAOK and fellow pace-setters AZ Alkmaar.

These two sides may have played out an entertaining first half on matchday three – serving up four goals and two missed penalties – but there was to be no repeat this time around. Both teams started brightly, though, and Maccabi Haifa striker Dino Ndlovu struck a shot just wide of the post in the opening stages.

As for the visitors, they were restricted to a solitary long-range effort which Alexandros Tziolis blazed over the bar. Indeed, neither goalkeeper was tested until first-half added time, but when Stoch finished a quick PAOK counterattack with a low shot at goal, Šaranov did brilliantly to save with his legs.

Costin Lazăr tested Šaranov again after the interval with a firm drive from 30 metres out, while at the other end half-time substitute Shimon Abuhazira forced Jacobo to palm away his powerful attempt from a tight angle. Stoch also tried his luck from distance but shot straight at Šaranov, before Ezra curled a fine effort against the post for the hosts from outside the box.

Both sides pushed for the decisive goal but neither could produce a winner, with Gustavo Boccoli sending a long-range effort high and wide for Maccabi Haifa before Lino almost deceived Šaranov with a free-kick from 35 metres.

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