PAOK Thessaloniki of Greece advanced to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Conference League following a comprehensive 4-1 win over Israel’s state cup holders Beitar Jerusalem. After a goalless draw in the first-leg match in Thessaloniki, PAOK took an early lead in the 12th minute through an own goal by Beitar defender Edi Gotliv. Gotliy unsuccessfully attempted to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper, only for the ball to go into goal.
Beitar had a chance to equalise in the 42nd minute when PAOK’s goalkeeper Dominik Kotarski saved Yarden Shua’s penalty kick. The drama unfolded after Douglas Augusto was sent off with a red card for bringing Shua down in the box.
PAOK extended their lead in first-half stoppage time with a conversion by Spanish striker Brandon Thomas, who was assisted by Andrija Zivkovic. Beitar managed to reduce the deficit just before halftime with a header from Nigerian striker Fred Friday, who connected with Shua’s accurate cross.
In the second half, Beitar had a goal disallowed in the 66th minute after Giorgi Morozov was found to be offside. Fred Friday had a crucial opportunity to level the scores in the 71st minute but he missed the target after a poor shot from a good position.
PAOK secured the result in added time with an own goal by Cote d’Ivoire midfielder Trazie Thomas and another goal by Giannis Konstantelias, assisted by Theocharis Tsingaras.
In the third qualifying round, PAOK will take on Croatia’s Hajduk Split in a home-and-away format. The overall winners will then advance to the playoff stage.