Despite the draw in Portugal last week and a great start in Thessaloniki, PAOK failed to make it to the Champions League group stage after losing to Benfica 1-4 on Wednesday.
The Toumba stadium was packed to capacity, with PAOK fans anticipating the Thessaloniki team to join the European football elite by booking a spot in the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history.
PAOK seemed to have the upper hand in the second leg of the play-off against Benfica after the 1-1 draw in Lisbon. Even a scoreless draw would have given him the ticket to the group stage.
The evening started splendidly for PAOK, who were dominant in the early stages and deservedly took the lead with Aleksandar Prijovic after a clever free-kick in the 13th minute.
However, only seven minute later Benfica levelled from a corner and then took the lead after an error from PAOK goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis gifted them a penalty, which Eduardo Salvio scored.
Pizzi made it 1-3 shortly before the break and a second penalty for the visitors after the restart, again scored by Salvio, put an end to PAOK’s dreams.
Despite the loss, PAOK fans applauded the team, that will continue in the Europa League group stage.