Dortmund, Dec 11 (IANS) Borussia Dortmund progressed into the next round despite suffering their second loss in a row as PAOK FC’s Robert Mak scored the only of the goal of the match at the last round of Europa League’s group stage.
The visitors from Greece secured a surprising 1-0 victory on the road on Thursday as they overcame an uninspired Dortmund. However, Dortmund still qualified as the group Group C runner-up while PAOK could only secure the third spot to be knocked out of the competition, reports Xinhua.
Dortmund started thus highly motivated and offensively minded into the game. Meanwhile, PAOK kept all their men deep in their territory to lurk for counter attack opportunities.
Despite PAOK’s passive strategy the host were able to work out opportunities as Shinji Kagawa’s shot rattled the left post with 10 minutes into the clash before Matthias Ginter pulled wide with his volley attempt from very close range in the 26th minute.
The visitors were clinical in front of Dortmund’s goal as Dimitris Konstantinidis’ deep through ball found Robert Mak, who rounded Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller to break the deadlock out of the blue in the 33rd minute. Dortmund tried to respond before the break but the left post denied Marco Reus’ effort from close range.
After the restart, the hosts worked out the best chance to restore parity but PAOK’s goalkeeper Panagiotis Glykos defused Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s effort following a one-on-one situation. PAOK’s custodian was again in the thick of things moments later, after he tipped Shinji Kagawa’s dangerous header over the bar.
Dortmund continued their run on PAOK’s goal but they lacked in ideas and accuracy to overcome the visitor’s bulwark, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s header hit the woodwork in the closing period.
With the result, Dortmund sealed their progression into the next round whereas PAOK were crashed out of the Europa League.
Krasnodar completed the standings in Group C with 13 points followed by Dortmund (10 points), PAOK FC (7 points) and Gabala FK (2 points).