May 20, 2024

Akida's Champions League hopes dashed as PAOK fall to Rangers

Akida's Champions League hopes dashed as PAOK fall to Rangers
Esse Akida in action against Rangers/Photo/Esse Akida

In their first chance of the game, the Greek champions came incredibly close to opening to scoring. Maria Mitkou played a ball to send Akida through on goal, she looped it over Victoria Esson but her effort bounced off the crossbar to deny PAOK a breakthrough.

Esse Akida and her club side PAOK Thessaloniki saw their UEFA Women’s Champions League hopes end following a 4-0 home loss to Scotland’s Rangers on Sunday 21 August 2022.

They were sunk by second-half goals from Nicola Docherty, Hannah Davison, Lizzie Arnot and an own goal ensured a win in Sunday’s final and a place in the Round 2 draw on September 1.

In their first chance of the game, the Greek champions came incredibly close to opening to scoring. Maria Mitkou played a ball to send Akida through on goal, she looped it over Victoria Esson but her effort bounced off the crossbar to deny PAOK a breakthrough.

The home side were beginning to put pressure on Rangers as a series of corners gave the Light Blues some defending to do. The first was taken by captain Thomai Vardali and was punched clear by Victoria Esson before the ball was returned into the box by Maria Mitkou but that was cleared by Tessel Middag and out for another corner. Thomai Vardali again delivered the next corner but it hit off the post.

As a tight first-half came to a close, neither side were able to find a breakthrough as referee Alina Peşu blew the whistle for half-time.

Rangers looked bright again at the start of the second-half as Tessel Middag’s long-range effort forced the goalkeeper into a save as she touched it over the bar and over for a Gers corner.

The corner was swung into the box by Jenny Danielsson in search of Chelsea Cornet but it was cleared by PAOK. However, Rangers continued the pressure as Nicola Docherty picked up the ball and looked to lift it back into the danger area with Kayla McCoy and Brogan Hay in dangerous positions.

Docherty’s ball took a bounce in the box which lifted it over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net to give Rangers the lead. Before the hour mark, Malky Thomson’s side had a two goal advantage. Chelsea Cornet’s free-kick was swung into the box and centre-back Hannah Davidson did well to break free from the PAOK defence and guide a strong header into the back of the net for her first Rangers goal.

Rangers made their first change of the match with 25 minutes remaining as Lizzie Arnot was introduced in place of Brogan Hay.

The Light Blues were in control of this Round 1 final and had a three goal advantage shortly after. Lizzie Arnot delivered a great ball into the box from a corner and the PAOK defence were unable to deal with it as defender Maria Papaioannou turned it into her own net.

Into the final 10 minutes, it was 4-0 to Rangers. Substitutes Kirsty Howat and Lizzie Arnot combined with Howat delivering a ball from the right which was spilled by the goalkeeper and Arnot was on hand to guide it into the back of the net. Dina Orschmann came close to adding to the scoring in the final stages of the match but she was agonisingly wide of the post.

RANGERS: Esson, Docherty, Davison, Middag, McLauchlan, Maclean (McLeary, 82), Cornet, Kerr (Orschmann, 82), , Danielsson (Watson, 73) , Hay (Arnot, 67), McCoy (Howat, 73).

Subs: Fife, Martinez, McLeary, Austin, Orschmann, Cavanagh, Gray, Inman.

PAOK: Chatzicharistou, Giannaka, Papaioannou, Doiranli, Mitkou, Gornela, Akida (Pedersen, 76), Chalatsogianni, Vardali, Kalesi (Basouri, 59), Vlassopoulos

Subs: Gartner, Bourtouni, Makra, Sidiropoulou, Štokan, Giovani, Katsanou, Mavridou- Karapatsa, Savvidou, Bouzinou.

Referee: Alina Peşu