Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Aberdeen draw 2-2 with PAOK but hopes of group stage progression end in bittersweet night in Greece

Aberdeen midfielder Jamie McGrath scores a sensational 30 yard free-kick to stun Group G leaders PAOK in a Europa Conference League clash in Thessaloniki

Aberdeen's Duk celebrating on the pitch with graeme shinnie during a conference league game
Aberdeen's Duk (L) celebrates after scoring to make it 1-0 against PAOK with Graeme Shinnie. Image: SNS.

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’s Jack Mackenzie celebrates after Duk scores to make it 1-0 against PAOK. Image: SNS

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.

Duk celebrates his goal that made it 1-0 to Aberdeen. Image: SNS. 

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.

Aberdeen’s Duk scores to make it 1-0 against PAOK. Image: SNS.

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.

PAOK’s Taison scores to equalise and make it 1-1 against Aberdeen. Image: SNS.

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.

Aberdeen supporter at the Toumba Stadium. Image: SNS

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.

Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie (L) and Richard Jensen are dejected after Aberdeen concede against PAOK. Image: SNS

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.

Aberdeen’s Jamie McGrath (no.7) celebrates his free-kick equaliser with Graeme Shinnie (L) and manager Barry Robson at PAOK’s Toumba Stadium. Image: SNS.

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)