Saturday 22 July 2017

PAOK

Manager: Laslzo Boloni

Star Player: Greek international Dimitris Salpigidis (right) scored the goal that put his country into last summer's World Cup finals, and then joined his boyhood club after a successful stint with Panathinaikos. He was on target in South Africa, scoring a goal against Nigeria on the biggest stage.

Ground: Toumba Stadium, Thessaloniki (28,000 capacity)

History: Consistency is the model of PAOK's overall history. They have been in the Greek top flight since 1926 and never relegated, but have just two league titles to their name -- in 1976 and 1985. However, in 2006, they nearly went out of business due to economic strife with players unpaid for months.

Biggest Achievement: PAOK reached the quarter finals of the Cup Winners Cup in 1973, where they were knocked out of the competition by AC Milan.

How They Got Here: After finishing fourth in Greece last year, they have progressed through two rounds to make the groups. Norwegian outfit Valerenga were pushed aside before they eliminated Karpaty Lviv -- the impressive conquerors of St Patrick's Athletic.

Ambitions: PAOK made it to the last 32 last year and they would be happy to repeat that performance with two strong top seeds in this group -- aiming to reach the business end of the competition.

Irish Independent

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