Spartak Moscow vs PAOK – Tuesday, August 14, 18:30 BST/19:30 CEST – Spartak-Arena, Moscow, Russia
Spartak against PAOK was a thriller in the first leg. Spartak had taken a 2-0 through Ivelin Popov (7′) and Quincy Promes (17′). But PAOK fought back and would eventually walk away with a 3-2 victory with Aleksandar Prijović (29′), Dimitrios Limnios (37′) and Dimitrios Pelkas (45′) scoring the goals for the Greek side.
PAOK had a two-goal deficit turned around in the first 45 minutes. But the drama did not end there. In the 71′ Quincy Promes missed a penalty for Spartak, which would have given the Myaso an almost perfect result heading back to Russia.
Nonetheless, Spartak have taken a decent result back to Moscow. Furthermore, the Myaso highlighted on the weekend that overall the game club’s form is improving.
Facing Anzhi Makhachkala on Saturday, Spartak won 1-0 and have now taken first place in the Russian Premier League. Off the pitch, the club have announced the transfer of Roman Eremenko, who will complete his transfer in October when he has completed his doping suspension.
Although a much-needed transfer Eremenko’s transition from CSKA to Spartak has raised some controversy in Russia with CSKA fans upset that he has not stayed with the club, who were loyal with him throughout the suspension. Spartak fans, on the other hand, are not happy that the club have signed a player from their rivals.
Eremenko will not be eligible against PAOK on Tuesday, and perhaps the club hope that until the midfielder returns the controversy will have blown over.
PAOK, in the meantime, are no strangers to controversy. Last season the club was stripped off a potential championship after the club’s Russian owner Ivan Savvidis stormed onto the pitch wielding a gun during a Greek Superleague match against eventual champions AEK.
Savvidis was later suspended, and the club was stripped off vital points, which meant that on paper PAOK finished second. As a result, the Greeks had to start the Champions League campaign at the second stage of qualification where they eliminated FC Basel.
Now against Spartak, they will take a narrow advantage to Moscow. At the same time, Spartak only need a victory with a one-goal margin that is smaller than the 3-2 victory PAOK achieved in the first leg. Spartak have certainly the talent to do exactly that and will be favourites in the second leg.
Spartak Moscow vs PAOK – Players to look out for:
Sofiane Hanni – Spartak Moscow
Former FC Nantes and French youth national team talent, Sofiane Hanni, who is now an Algerian international has had to leave France very early to develop his talent. Having played in Turkey, Belgium and since January 2018 in Russia, the attacking midfielder has not played yet this season, and we think that against PAOK he will be in the starting eleven. Although he has said he would stay in Moscow for this season, if he continues to be ignored by Carrera, he might look for a potential move to England.
Dimitrios Limnios – PAOK
The talented left-footed winger can play on both sides of PAOK’s attack. If Lucescu decides to put Omar El Kaddouri instead of Léo Jabá, he will move to the left side instead of the right side where he currently plays. Born of a Brazilian mother and a former amateur football from Greece, Limnios has debuted at the age of 20 in the Greek national team and will be experiencing his second full season with PAOK and his third as a senior. Having played 26 games with only one goal for PAOK, he is hoping to improve his stats and fulfil his potential with the national team.
Spartak Moscow vs PAOK – Match Stats
- PAOK’s 3-2 victory in the first leg was the first match between the two sides.
- Spartak Moscow will be the fourth team from Russia that PAOK will face. CSKA Moscow (2010/11), Rubin Kazan (2011/12) and Krasnodar (2015/16) for four draws and two defeats.
- PAOK, on the other hand, will be the second team from Greece that Spartak Moscow will play after AEK Athens in 1991/92 for a draw and a defeat.
- In the last ten games: PAOK won six, drew two and lost two while Spartak won seven, drew two and lost one. Spartak have not conceded a goal in over 350 min but haven’t scored in almost 180 min. Both teams will want to win their first game against an opponent of from a new country.
- PAOK has two players that have played in the Liga: Léo Jabá (FC Akhmat); Maurício (Terek Grozny/Zenith St. Petersburg) while Spartak have no players that have played in the Greek League
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Spartak Moscow vs PAOK – 2-0
Spartak Moscow vs PAOK – Lineups
Maksimenko – Kombarov, Bocchetti, Gigot, Yeshchenko – Glushakov, Fernando, Zobnin – Promes, Zé Luís, Hanni
Head Coach: Massimo Carrera
Paschalakis – Crespo, Khacheridi, Varela, Leo Matos – Maurício, José Cañas – Léo Jabá, Pelkas, Limnios – Prijović
Head Coach: Răzvan Lucescu
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.