Tag Archives: PAOK Salonika

Davy’s double helps Ajax prevail and clinch playoff place

A double from Ajax captain, Davy Klaassen saw Ajax squeeze past PAOK and into the next round of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League – beating the Greek side 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate reports Steven Davies.





(Ajax wins 3-2 on aggregate)

Playing an, at times, awkward 3-5-2 formation, Ajax found themselves with a proverbial mountain to climb after only four minutes when Stefanos Athanasiadis lost Heiko Westermann on the back post and beat Jasper Cillessen to put the Greek side ahead both on the night and in the tie overall following a 1-1 draw between the two sides in Amsterdam just over a week ago.


Faced with both the inhospitable temperatures in Thessaloniki and hostile atmosphere inside the Stadio Toumbas, the Ajax back three just could not come to grips with the illusive Athanasiadis who was denied by Cillessen on several occasions including a fantastic point black stop and a one-on-one between the two which the PAOK goal-scorer failed to convert inside the opening half hour.

Ajax built up a healthy advantage in terms of possession as the half wore on but could not convert their possession into clear cut chances while PAOK’s swift counter attacking through the evasive Garry Rodrigues found the Ajax backline turned inside out on more than one occasion with only Dutch international, Cillessen’s reflexes keeping the Amsterdam giants in the tie.

Ajax’s first real opportunity arrived at the feet of Cassierra after some deft control from a Dijks cross from the left found the new signing with the goal at his mercy – yet a stumble from the Colombian allowed PAOK ‘keeper, Glykos to recover.

It appeared that the tie was slipping away from the four-time European Cup winners until Viergever was brought down by Croatian defender, Marin Leovac in the PAOK box following an Ajax free kick from the right as the clock ticked into added time at the end of the first half.

Davy Klaassen duly dispatched the resultant spot kick to claw Peter Bosz and his men somewhat undeservedly back into the tie and in the process nullify the away goal the Greeks had bagged in Amsterdam.

A largely uneventful second stanza saw a slew of yellow cards and few opportunities – the majority of which fell to the home side.

A Tzavellas free kick on 53 minutes tested Cillessen’s reflexes and a looping header from PAOK substitute, Mystakidis rattled the Ajax’s keeper’s crossbar as the game entered the final quarter hour.

Yet, try as they might, the Greeks found de Godenzonen in resilient mood and, with the away side’s only opportunity of the half, a cross from the left found substitute Anwar El Ghazi whose cushioned header fell perfectly for Ajax skipper, Klaassen who duly drilled home to put the Amsterdammers ahead for the first time in the tie – the Dutch international’s strike ultimately proving enough to put the European giants into the next round of UEFA Champions League qualifying.

Man of the Match: Jasper Cillessen


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Ajax have barely got themselves back into training and they have the challenge of Greek Superleague runners-up PAOK Salonika in the third qualification stage of the Champions League. Looking for real value in the betting markets, Will Burns thinks the Amsterdammers will win, but with a struggle.


Tuesday 26th July 2016 – 19:45BST



Tuesday night sees Peter Bosz first competitive match as Ajax manager as he control the reins that Frank de Boer left behind at the end of the season. A season which the Amsterdam giants saw PSV pip them to the title on the last day of the season, as Ajax failed to overcome De Graafschap while PSV dispatched PEC Zwolle. A result which placed the final nail in De Boer’s coffin as he resigned immediately.

It’s a new beginning in Amsterdam and although the players are virtually the same with only two summer additions, it’s a fresh start for Bosz, who we last saw in Holland managing Vitesse Arnhem. He will have get his players to adapt to his high pressure style of football as soon as possible. In regards to player changes: right-back Ricardo van Rhijn has departed for Club Brugge and fellow defender Mike van der Hoorn joined Swansea City, in return Bosz has added experienced German defender Heiko Westermann to the ranks from Real Betis and Mateo Cassierra, a 19-year-old Colombian striker from Deportivo Cali signed on the dotted line for €5.5m.

For PAOK FC themselves are experiencing the effects of change in management as Vladimir Ivić only took over from Igor Tudor back in March. They head into Tuesday’s game like Ajax, with this being their first competitive game since the end of last season. These two sides have met only twice before, again a two-legged affair in the UEFA Champions League qualifying back in 2010/11 which produced two draws and saw the Greeks prevail on the away goal rule. Coach Ivić, a former player of the club, scored twice in the legs versus the Amsterdammers.

While looking at the betting, Ajax are very short at 1.65 (with Ladbrokes) so I am avoiding this even though I think they are the most likely winners of this match. PAOK will set-up in a tight 4-3-3 formation which Ajax may find tough to break down so they may look to the counter as a weapon. I see this being a cautious game for Bosz’s side with a high defensive line, Ajax will be looking to hold off the Greeks and keep a clean sheet for the return leg next week. However, this is Ajax’s home leg and they need at least a goal, this may open then up at the back and concede as the young and old pairing of Jairo Riedewald (19) and Westermann (32) may need time to gel with each other.

I envisage Ajax scoring with ease as Anwar El Ghazi, Davy Klaassen, Amin Younes and Lasse Schone, all vying to start, are all capable of filling the opponents goal. Ajax to win with Both Teams to Score is our most value tip priced up at 333/100 at William Hill and if this is land then Over 2.5 Goals is worth a bet at 5/4 with BetBright. I would advise to go small on a Ajax 2-1 win also, best priced with Bet365 at 9/1.


Ajax to win with Both Teams to Score (4.33 at William Hill)

Over 2.5 Goals (2.25 at BetBright)

Correct Score: Ajax 2-1 PAOK Salonika (10.00 at Bet365)


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