PAOK Salonika’s players celebrate Vierinha’s goal. The Macedonian team passed to the final 32 of Europa League. (Action Images)
Macedonia News — PAOK Salonika secured top spot in Europa League Group A with a 1-1 draw which was also enough for Rubin Kazan to reach the last 32 by finishing second.
Rubin goalkeeper Sergei Ryzhikov was sent off in the 12th minute for what was deemed a professional foul on Georgios Georgiadis and Vieirinha tucked away the spot-kick.
At that point Tottenham, who needed a six-goal swing to edge Rubin out of second spot, might have been hopeful but Nelson Valdez’s equaliser early in the second half took the Russians through.
An opportunity almost opened up for Valdez in the ninth minute after a PAOK defensive mix-up, but the ball just ran away from the Paraguayan as he seemed set to burst through on goal.
The match swung decisively in PAOK’s favour with the dismissal of Ryzhikov. Vieirinha was kept waiting three minutes to take the resulting penalty as substitute goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis came on, but the Portuguese made no mistake with a penalty drilled low to the new man’s right.
Rubin Kazan managed to score with Valdez in the beginning of the 2n half and keep the tie till the end of the match.
PAOK Salonika, the Macedonian team from Greece, like all Europa League group winners will be seeded along with the four UEFA Champions League qualifiers with the best record in their section. The other four sides transferring from the Champions League competition and the UEFA Europa League group runners-up are in the unseeded pot and are drawn first, meaning they are drawn to play the first-leg matches at home. They cannot be paired with either the winners from their section or clubs from the same association. The matches for the round of 32 will take place between 16 and 23 February of 2012.
Info from Espn and UEFA Website.
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