Luckily for Miroslav Stoch, who pulled off the embarrassing achievement of missing two penalty kicks in less than six minutes, Paok managed to beat Maccabi Haifa 3-2 in the Europa League group, with no great thanks to him.
Serbian goalkeeper Bojan Šaranov was actually to blame for all three goals Maccabi Haifa conceded, but he also stopped Stoch’s penalty kicks in a wild first half that produced four goals.
Maccabi Haifa scored first in the 13th minute through South African forward Dino Ndlovu, and got themselves a shocking 2-0 lead through a brilliant goal by Eyal Golasa. After more misses from the Israeli side, Paok realized that simply crossing into the Haifa box will be enough to get back in the match.
The first goal came off a Lino cross, connecting with Miguel Vitor rising above the Haifa defense while Saranov was positioned terribly. Three minutes later, a Miroslav Stoch dive won Paok a penalty they didn’t deserve, but Šaranov made the first save and then another off the rebound. Too bad he didn’t do as well with the following corner kick, headed in by Sotiris Ninis, giving Paok the 2-2 draw.
Only five minutes go by, and before the first half ends, Edin Cocalić touched the ball with his hands, winning Paok another penalty. Again, despite his previous miss, it was Miroslav Stoch who stepped up, taking the other corner. Once again, Šaranov anticipated Stoch’s moves correctly and stopped the shot, this time going in the opposite direction.
Unfortunately for Haifa and Šaranov, a Paok cross in the 65th minute was met by Dimitris Salpingidis, scoring the winner for the Greek side, who remain at the top of the Europa League group with 7 points, while Haifa are dead last with only one point.