Greek side PAOK Salonika extend their unbeaten run in the UEFA Europa Conference League, UECL, but not without a late drama involving Nigeria's William Troost-Ekong.
Troost-Ekong found himself at the end of a late drama as PAOK survived a scare to beat HJK 3-2 in their UECL opener on Thursday.
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The 30-year-old was at the heart of PAOK’s defence but gave his side a late scare in the thrilling clash.
PAOK came into the game hoping to extend their unbeaten run in the competition against the Finnish side who have never progressed beyond the group stages in Europe.
In their first-ever encounter, it was the Finns who started on the front foot when they opened the scoring in the 36th minute through Lucas Lingman.
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HJK held on to the narrow lead at halftime but returned to the second half to meet an inspired and rejuvenated PAOK.
After a dominant and positive start to the second 45, the Greek side equalised in the 55th minute and never looked back.
Despite threatening to add to the scoreline after that equaliser, PAOK were forced to wait until the 81st minute when Despodov gave the visitors the lead for the first time.
And in stoppage time, PAOK doubled their advantage to put the game to bed at 3-1 thanks to Konstantinos Koulierakis. But there was one last drama as Nigeria’s Troost-Ekong was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
The VAR intervened and the referee made no mistakes to give the hosts a penalty in the 99th minute, which was calmly dispatched to make it a tense final minute.
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