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Fiorentina in command after edging out PAOK

PAOK FC 0-1 ACF Fiorentina
Juan Vargas's 38th-minute strike earned Fiorentina their third win in as many UEFA Europa League outings as they went five clear in Group K.

Juan Vargas is congratulated after scoring what proved to be the decisive goal
Juan Vargas is congratulated after scoring what proved to be the decisive goal ©AFP/Getty Images

Fiorentina make it three wins out of three in Group K 
Federico Bernardeschi misses open goal for Fiorentina early on
PAOK lose right-back Giannis Skondras to ankle injury
Juan Vargas scores second UEFA Europa League goal of season
Next game: Fiorentina v PAOK (6 November)

Juan Vargas's 38th-minute strike was enough to give ACF Fiorentina the UEFA Europa League points with a hard-earned victory over PAOK FC in Salonika.

Vargas powered the ball in at the second attempt towards the end of a first half in which the visitors were always in firm control. They were rarely troubled in the second either as Vincenzo Montella's side opened up a five-point lead at the top of Group K.

The Greek club remain on three points after a game played before a 24,000 sell-out crowd, but in which they struggled to create chances and were hesitant in defence. Both teams pushed forward early, but the Italian outfit looked more dangerous, and Federico Bernardeschi was guilty of a glaring miss when he blazed over following a mix-up between Giorgos Katsikas and goalkeeper Panagiotis Glykos.

PAOK lost right-back Giannis Skondras to an ankle injury after an awkward fall, and as the match became scrappy the hosts appeared ever more vulnerable at the back. They were duly caught out by a simple ball over the top. Josip Iličić raced into the box and squared perfectly for the onrushing Vargas to ram in the rebound after his initial shot.

For all their effort and some dangerous moments through striker Stefanos Athanasiadis, PAOK never seemed likely to equalise. Instead, Juan Cuadrado almost made it 2-0 for the Italians but his strike was brilliantly parried by Glykos late on.