PAOK did it the hard way, but managed to get all three points from its opening game in the Europa League group stage by beating Shakhtar Karagandy of Kazakhstan 2-1 on Thursday through a Zvonimir Vukic goal in time added on.

Playing behind closed doors, PAOK had to overcome the team that beat Celtic 2-0 in Kazakhstan in the Champions League playoffs but was relatively inexperienced in European competition.

After a barren first half that saw PAOK enjoy possession without translating it into goals, the second half had it all.

Shakhter earned a controversial penalty five minutes into the second half that Roger Canas converted to give the visitors the lead.

PAOK manager Huub Stevens took a risk by throwing more players in attack and his team nearly equalized when a Costin Lazar shot shook the crossbar.

Where Lazar failed, Stefanos Athanasiadis succeeded, making it 1-1 15 minutes from time after tapping the ball in from a Lucas corner.

In the 86th minute Andrei Poryvaev left Shakhter with 10 men by receiving his second yellow card.

PAOK discerned its chance to turn things around, and it did so one minute into injury time: Lino crossed the ball into the box and substitute Vukic headed the ball home for a late winner.

This was the last of the three games PAOK played without its fans this year, as it has now served all of its penalty.

Its next match in the group will be at Alkmaar against local AZ on October 3.

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