Aberdeen midfielder Dante Polvara admits he has never experienced footballing agony as extreme as the dramatic loss to PAOK.
But he is determined to shrug off the pain to go again when facing Kilmarnock away in Premiership action on Sunday.
American Polvara netted a superb goal to fire the Dons into a 2-0 lead against Europa Conference League Group G leaders PAOK.
Aberdeen were on course for a memorable victory which would have reignited hopes of progressing from the groups when Polvara was substituted off.
He exited the pitch with the Reds 2-0 up.
But it all turned sour to the extent Polvara couldn’t watch the action unfold as PAOK netted three late goals to win 3-2.
The 23-year-old admits he can take no joy from his goal as the pain of the dramatic defeat is too raw.
However, he accepts that agony must not linger as Aberdeen need to start climbing up the Premiership table.
Polvara said: “I haven’t had this sort of feeling in a football game in my life.
“It hurts because it did feel like it was going to be a special night.
“I wish I could look back on the goal with a little more happiness, but all I can think about right now is the final result.
“That’s all anyone can think of.
“It’s painful. I don’t really know how to say anything else – it hurts.
“The boys are hurting, but the best thing is we have a game against Kilmarnock and a chance to get back in the winning column.
“That’s what we have to focus on now.
“We have to learn from the PAOK game and get ready for Sunday.”
‘I couldn’t watch it’
Polvara was taken off in the 72nd minute in a triple-switch with fellow goal-scorer Bojan Miovski and Connor Barron also substituted.
Duk, Leighton Clarkson and Jonny Hayes were introduced off the bench.
Within a minute of Polvara coming off, the Dons had conceded to reduce their lead to 2=1.
PAOK would go on to net a leveller in the 84th minute and deliver a cruel defeat by converting a penalty in injury time.
Polvara said: “You could feel the energy in the stadium and I was way more nervous once I was off the pitch.
“I couldn’t watch it.
“I don’t really know what happened, but I heard the mistakes and deflections. It was just unlucky.”
‘Never say never’ on Group G hopes
Polvara also netted a memorable goal in the 2-1 loss to Bundesliga giants Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.
He has only netted twice for the Dons – and both have been in the Europa Conference League group this season.
Aberdeen have just one point from the opening three fixtures in their Euro section.
Group leaders PAOK have nine points, with Frankfurt on six.
Polvara said: “You can never say never, but we definitely could have put ourselves in a better position.
“We’ve played everyone now and PAOK look strong and are in a great position.
“Frankfurt are a big team and beat HJK Helsinki (6-0).
“There were more points on the board for us in potentially all three games, so it is unfortunate to look back on.
“However, we have the semi-final of the Viaplay Cup (v Hibs), which is huge and a great position to win some silverware.
“I couldn’t think of anything better.
“We also have to keep chugging away at the league and get ourselves up there and get points on the board.”
Dons’ need to rise up the Premiership table
Polvara accepts Premiership success is what brings European qualification for next season.
And he is determined to book Europe for next term – regardless of the outcome of Group G this term.
He said: “We have just as important a game on Sunday against Kilmarnock.
“If we want to be in European competition, the most likely scenario is we have to finish top three or top four.
“Europe is what we all want to be involved in.
“The game at Kilmarnock is very important as we have to get three points.
“Kilmarnock will be tough and they will be excited to play against us, probably knowing what happened against PAOK and how much we put in.
“So we have to be ready.”