Home Football Hearts 1-2 PAOK: Scottish Team Falls in Europa Conference League Play-off First Leg

Hearts 1-2 PAOK: Scottish Team Falls in Europa Conference League Play-off First Leg

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In the first leg of the Europa Conference League play-off, Hearts were handed a defeat by PAOK, leaving them a tough task in Greece next week if they hope to advance to the group stage.

Last week’s feverish comeback win against Rosenborg at Tynecastle set the stage for Hearts to start strong once more. Indeed, the anticipation in the stands reached a fever pitch as Hearts promptly delivered on the spirited start they so desired.

Kenneth Vargas was halted in the box by Stefan Schwab’s ankle clip, resulting in a VAR-reviewed penalty. Lawrence Shankland masterfully converted the penalty, igniting further joy among the fans.

Scottish Hearts’ Uphill Battle

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However, the celebration was short-lived as the lead was quickly lost. Schwab evened the score with a penalty kick after Andrija Zivkovic was brought down by Kye Rowles. Later, Zivkovic struck a spectacular 25-yard goal to give PAOK the advantage, setting them on track to qualify.

Hearts will likely be left pondering what could’ve been, particularly as Shankland’s beautiful strike was nullified by an offside ruling, and both Shankland and Liam Boyce were denied in the first half.

The Greeks, once Europa League quarter-finalists, brought their A-game, with standouts like Zivkovic and Taison causing much trouble for Hearts.

Player of the Match – Andrija Zivkovic

The Serbian forward was Hearts’ nemesis, winning the penalty and firing the stunning game-winner.

The defeat was bitter for Hearts, but if they wish to reach the group stage for the second consecutive season, they’ll have to pull out all the stops. Despite a potent attack led by Shankland, they were often wanting in midfield. The disallowed goal was a key turning point.

PAOK’s quick and skillful play makes them a perilous side. They may not have been watertight defensively, but their slick possession and rapid counter-attacks proved effective.

Hearts did display enough fight to give their supporters hope that they can overcome the deficit.

Quotes from the Coaches

Hearts’ head coach, Frankie McAvoy, expressed disappointment but remained optimistic: “The game was there to be won… It’s in the balance, and I believe we can go there and get something.”

PAOK coach Razvan Lucescu stressed the importance of focus in the next game, stating: “It was a hard fight… I believe the result is deserved, even if it was hard.”

Upcoming Fixtures

Hearts will take on Dundee in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday (15:00 BST) before heading to Greece for the second leg with PAOK next Thursday (18:30).

Match Statistics

  • Possession: Hearts 46% – PAOK 54%
  • Shots: Hearts 10 – PAOK 14
  • Shots on Target: Hearts 4 – PAOK 7
  • Corners: Hearts 1 – PAOK 2
  • Fouls: Hearts 13 – PAOK 15

Player Ratings

  • Andrija Zivkovic (PAOK): 7.29
  • Kent (PAOK): 7.27
  • Lawrence Shankland (Hearts): 6.88
  • Boyce (Hearts): 6.31
  • Clark (Hearts): 6.05
  • Vargas (Hearts): 5.98
  • Kingsley (Hearts): 5.60
  • McKay (Hearts): 5.51
  • Devlin (Hearts): 5.44
  • Cochrane (Hearts): 5.32
  • Sibbick (Hearts): 5.11
  • Atkinson (Hearts): 5.09
  • Offiah (Hearts): 4.74
  • Rowles (Hearts): 4.58
  • Tagawa (Hearts): 4.57
  • Lowry (Hearts): 4.43
  • Oda (Hearts): 4.14

With a mixed performance from Hearts’ players, the uphill battle in Greece will be an exciting and defining moment in their season. Youthful exuberance and tactical acumen will be key for Frankie McAvoy’s squad to overturn the deficit and keep their European dream alive. The echoes of “What if?” still linger, but Hearts are unbowed and eager for the return challenge.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Europa Conference League

What was the final score between Hearts and PAOK in the Europa Conference League play-off first leg?

The final score was Hearts 1, PAOK 2.

Who was the player of the match?

The player of the match was Andrija Zivkovic from PAOK.

What was the turning point of the game for Hearts?

The turning point of the game for Hearts was the disallowed goal by Lawrence Shankland, which could have significantly changed the outcome.

When and where is the second leg between Hearts and PAOK going to be played?

The second leg will be played in Greece, with PAOK hosting Hearts, on the following Thursday at 18:30 BST.

What were the possession statistics for the match?

PAOK had a slight advantage in possession, with 54% to Hearts’ 46%.

Who scored the goals for Hearts and PAOK?

Lawrence Shankland scored for Hearts from the penalty spot, while Stefan Schwab scored a penalty for PAOK, and Andrija Zivkovic netted the winning goal.

How did Hearts’ coach Frankie McAvoy react to the defeat?

Hearts’ head coach Frankie McAvoy expressed disappointment but remained optimistic about the second leg, believing that his team could go to Greece and get a favorable result.

What’s next for Hearts after this match?

Hearts are scheduled to play against Dundee in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday at 15:00 BST.

How did the players on both teams rank in terms of average ratings?

The highest-rated players were Andrija Zivkovic (PAOK) with an average rating of 7.29, followed by Kent (PAOK) with 7.27, and Lawrence Shankland (Hearts) with 6.88. Other players had varying ratings ranging from above 6 to as low as 4.14.

What strategies did PAOK employ to win the match?

PAOK utilized slick possession, quick counter-attacks, and took advantage of key opportunities, including a penalty and a thunderous 25-yard strike from Andrija Zivkovic.

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TechyTed August 25, 2023 - 6:09 am

didnt watch the game, but this recap’s awesome. sounds like a great match. will have to catch the highlights.

GoalGoddess August 25, 2023 - 7:16 am

i love how this game was intense till the end, both teams wanting it bad. the second leg is going to be a nail-biter for sure!

PAOK_Fan August 25, 2023 - 12:29 pm

Good win for PAOK but it aint over yet. Hearts are strong at home and I think they still have a good shot at winning this.

FilmCritic August 25, 2023 - 7:16 pm

Random comment here but the way this article is written, it felt like I was watching a movie thriller! Great game too. Hope the next leg lives up to this one.

James82 August 25, 2023 - 9:16 pm

What a game! can’t believe Shankland’s goal was disallowed, would’ve changed everything. PAOK were tough though gotta admit.

SoccerFan1990 August 26, 2023 - 2:14 am

Zivkovic was just on fire tonight! Thats what a forward should be, earning the penalty and scoring a winner. Hearts still have a chance but they need to up their game.

Hearts4Life August 26, 2023 - 5:03 am

Ugh, such a frustrating match. We were so close, that disallowed goal hurt us real bad. Next leg in Greece will be tough but we can do it.


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