Battling Aberdeen proved their Euro group stage credentials by holding PAOK to a 2-2 draw at the infamous Toumba Stadium.
However their hopes of progression from Group G are now over despite the heroics against the group leaders in Greece.
The Dons’ hopes of progressing from the groups were extinguished by Eintracht Frankfurt’s 1-0 away win against HJK Helsinki.
PAOK have 10 points, Eintracht Frankfurt nine and the Dons two.
With two games remaining they cannot be caught by Aberdeen.
It was a cruel way for the group stage progression hopes to end as the Dons walked off the pitch to be confronted with Frankfurt’s score.
Aberdeen went toe-to-toe with the Greeks.
Dubbed ‘The Black Hell’ the stadium is renowned for its intimidating, hostile atmosphere.
The Dons were never intimidated in Thessaloniki and never buckled against the Group G leaders.
PAOK’S infamous crowd were twice silenced by Aberdeen thanks to goals from Duk and Jamie McGrath.
Aberdeen go toe to toe with PAOK
Ultimately it was a bittersweet night for Aberdeen.
As they showed they can compete with teams of this level their hopes of progression from Group G also came to an end.
Aberdeen needed to win this match to keep alive slim hopes of qualifying from the group stages.
Securing a draw at PAOK offers clear evidence Aberdeen are progressing at Euro group stage level and learning lessons.
The Dons rode their luck at times but they never buckled and showed fortitude in the face of a PAOK storm on and off the pitch.
Lessons learned from Euro groups
Ultimately the damage to progression hopes was done 3,500 miles away at Pittodrie where the Dons’ inability to make home advantage count proved fatal.
They were 2-0 up against PAOK in the Granite City with 17 minutes remaining and spectacularly blew it to lose 3-2.
Thoughts of ‘what if’ surrounding that game will surely linger around Pittodrie long after the final Group G game in December.
The Dons also failed to capitalise on the chances created at home in the 1-1 draw with HJK Helsinki. More dropped points.
Ultimately the return to group stage Euro action for the first time since 2007-08 has been hugely positive for the Dons.
Aberdeen banked in excess of £5 million in UEFA prize money which bankrolled a substantial summer squad rebuild with 13 signings.
It delivered a rapid learning curve on what is required to compete at this Euro level and the demands of group stage action.
As for the remaining two games – they will also offer a further 180 minutes of action for Aberdeen to learn more for what is hoped will be another group stage adventure next season.
Qualifying for the Euro groups again must be the target.
Aberdeen suffer Miovski blow
Aberdeen were dealt a blow when talismanic striker Bojan Miovski failed to make the starting line-up in Thessaloniki.
In-form Miovski, with 10 goals in all competitions this season, failed to recover sufficiently from a knock suffered in the Viaplay Cup semi-final defeat of Hibs.
Miovski had scored in four of Aberdeen’s five European games this season and was an effective attacking focal point as a lone striker away in Continental competition.
Duk, who has scored just twice this term, was drafted in as replacement for Miovski.
In the other change Ryan Duncan came in for Leighton Clarkson.
Duk fires Aberdeen ahead
The PAOK fans were momentarily silenced when Aberdeen stunned the Greek Super League team by scoring the opener in the 14th minute.
Duncan flicked on a pass to Nicky Devlin down the right flank and the wing-back drilled a low cross along the face of goal.
It found Duk who took a superb touch that eliminated defender William Troost-Ekong before firing a clinical 10 yard drive beyond keeper Dominik Kotarski.
Aberdeen’s 800-strong travelling supporters erupted in rapturous celebrations.
PAOK hit back when Taison dispossessed Slobodan Rubezic in the 23rd minute and passed wide to Kiril Despodov who broke into the box and delivered a return cut-back.
Taison was unmarked and punished the slack defending by shooting low beyond Roos from 12 yards.
The woodwork denied PAOK moments later when Rubezic slid in to block an Aubdul Rahman Baba cross and the Dons’ centre-back’s clearance cracked off the post.
In the 34th minute Vieirinha was yellow carded for a bad challenge on Jamie McGrath.
The PAOK skipper was fortunate it was not a red.
In the 43rd minute McGrath produced a vital block 12 yards out to stop a Brandon drive and prevent a certain goal.
Roos was forced into saves from Ionnis Kontantelias and Konstantinos Koullerakis early in the second half as PAOK ramped up the pressure.
As the tension rose Aberdeen boss Barry Robson was booked for complaining about a poor challenge on Stefan Gartenmann in the 50th minute.
Sensational free-kick from McGrath
PAOK went ahead in the 67th minute when Troost-Ekong headed a cross back along the face of goal towards substitute Mbwana Samatta who flicked a header from six yards beyond Roos.
Aberdeen refused to buckle and hit back with a sensational goal in the 70th minute.
Duk won a free-kick and McGrath curled a sublime 30-yard curling effort beyond the keeper to spark joyous celebrations amongst the Dons fans.
Amidst the celebrations a bottle appeared to be thrown from the crowd at the Dons bench.
In the 76th minute referee Juxhin Xhaja awarded a penalty for a ‘foul’ by McGrath on Koulerakis.
McGrath never touched Koulerakis who blatantly dived, and was also offside.
It was a terrible decision by the referee but thankfully VAR intervened and the penalty was denied.
ABERDEEN (5-4-1): Roos 7; Devlin 7, Gartenmann 6, Rubezic 6, Jensen 6, MacKenzie 7; Duncan 6 (Hayes 60), Barron 7, Shinnie 7 (Polvara 60), McGrath 7 (Miovski 76); Duk 7 (Sokler 85)
Subs not used: Doohan, Clarkson, Gueye, Williams, MacDonald, Milne, Dadia, Marshall
PAOK (4-2-3-1): Katarski 6; Vierirnha 6 (Kędziora 82), Troost-Ekong 7, Koulierakis 6, Baba 6 (Soares 85); Tsingaras 6 (Ozdoev 65) Schwab 7; Despodov 7 (Zivkovic 82), Konstantelias 7, Taison 7; Brandon 6 (Samatta 64)
Subs not used: Zivković, Michailidis, Meite, Murg, Živković, , Lyratzis, Vrakas, Rafa Tzimas
Referee: Juxhin Xhaja (Albania)
Man-of-the-match: Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen)