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Three-goal Udinese ease beyond PAOK

PAOK FC 0-3 Udinese Calcio (agg: 0-3)
Two up inside 15 minutes, the Serie A visitors marched into the round of 16 thanks to their joint biggest victory in UEFA club competition.

Danilo (second right) celebrates his opening goal with Medhi Benatia
Danilo (second right) celebrates his opening goal with Medhi Benatia ©Getty Images

Udinese Calcio sealed their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League as PAOK FC's 12-match unbeaten run in continental competition came to a comprehensive end in Salonika.

The foundations for the Serie A team's biggest European away win were laid in the first 15 minutes by Danilo and Antonio Floro Flores. After the break, Maurizio Domizzi, from the spot, rubber-stamped a round of 16 tie against AZ Alkmaar, for which Diego Fabbrini will miss the first leg following a second-half booking.

When Apostolos Giannou tested Samir Handanovič − a relative spectator in the goalless first leg − from the edge of the penalty area, the prospect of the visitors progressing so serenely seemed unlikely. The Zebrette, like their hosts, had not scored in their previous two outings, so it came as a surprise when Francesco Guidolin's side went two up inside a quarter of an hour.

The first telling blow in the tie was landed by Danilo, who rose above the statuesque Stefanos Athanasiadis to head in Giovanni Pasquale's corner for his maiden Friulani goal. That was followed nine minutes later by a thunderous Floro Flores shot which Dario Krešić could only help into the net.

PAOK's response before the break amounted to Italian defender Bruno Cirillo heading against a post from a Pablo García corner and Giannou, following a neat turn, curling an effort wide. Three bookings, all for fouls, in the first 30 minutes summed up their frustration.

If there was hope at half-time that the Greek side could mount an unlikely comeback, it disappeared entirely six minutes after the interval as László Bölöni's men made another nightmare start. Miroslaw Sznaucner pulled back Floro Flores as he was being harried by Udinese's lone striker, allowing Domizzi to emphatically covert from the spot.