An evening with the locals



20.00 Thursday 18th August 2016
FC Dinamo Tbilisi – PAOK Salonika FC

Venue: Dynamo Arena, Tbilisi, Georgia

Competition: Europa League Qualifying Play-Offs Round 1st Leg

FC Dinamo Tbilisi, while not a name most will be familiar with in the world of football, it is however, the biggest club side in the country of Georgia. So what better place to get my first taste of ‘geo’ football than here and with a ticket price of just 5 Georgian Lari (roughly £1.50), it was a bargain.

Thursday evening in Tbilisi and the mosquitos are out in force, as are the thousands of locals who have flocked to the Dinamo Arena to watch their local club. The event is the Europa League play-off qualifier first leg tie against PAOK Salonika FC of Greece. The stadium itself did not feel as big as its 54,549 capacity would suggest and you also felt relatively close to the action on the pitch, that despite the existence of the dreaded Olympic running track adorning its outer edge.

Not much of the game had elapsed and I got the feeling PAOK may be the stronger of the two sides on display. And it was not long before they made their dominance show; a thunderous header (pictured) by full back Leo Matos, after a well taken corner on 20’. Dinamo mostly restricted to skewed long range efforts, as they struggled to penetrate a well organised Greek back line.

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Dinamo did at least threaten more in the second half, particularly on the counter attack and they worked themselves into a number of dangerous positions inside the penalty area, only again failing to find the target. The game then went further away from Dimano’s grasp, when the Greek side won another corner in the 70th minute and after a number panicked attempts to clear the ball in the Dinamo area, the ball fell luckily, to Jose Angel Crespo, who poked the ball home from close range to make it 2-0. It then became more of a sit back and counter game for PAOK, then shortly after the introduction of Facundo Pereyra, the lightening quick wide man Diego Biseswar, got clear down the left and crossed smartly for Pereyra to slot home and put the game and indeed tie beyond all doubt.

(Full Time) FC Dinamo 0-3 PAOK

Goals: 20’ Matos, 71’ Crespo and 83’ Biserwar.

Attendance: n/a

FC Dinamo Tbilisi: Scribe, Lobjanidze (58’ Τevzadze), Amisulashvili, Tsintsadze (70’ Alvaro), Papunashvili (63’ Dvalishvili), Kiteishvili, Parunashvili, René Santos, Jighauri, Chelidze, Chanturishvili.

PΑΟΚ: Glykos , Matos , Crespo , Tzavellas , Leovac , Cimirot , Shakhov (67’ Biseswar ), Charisis (46’ Cañas ), Campos (81’ Pereyra ), Rodrigues , Athanasiadis.

*Pictures by Mathew Paul Gundersen.

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