Rijeka welcomed the Greek club PAOK at Rujevica Stadium on Thursday in the return match of the Conference League playoffs.
Unfortunately, Rijeka could not overcome PAOK at Rujevica and was left without a place in the Conference League group stage. Goran Tomić’s side failed to get ahead after the first match ended 1:1. PAOK was better tonight with goals by Omar El Kaddouri and Thomas Murg.
PAOK furiously entered the game, dominated, and already in the sixth minute, it was clear that Rijeka had a tough match ahead. PAOK hit the post twice. First, Schwab shook the goalpost with a long-range shot before El Kaddouri hit the crossbar.
However, El Kaddouri made up for his miss in the 11th minute. Schwab found the Moroccan who took advantage of a sleepy Rijeka defense to make it 0:1.
Rijeka started to wake up in the middle of the first half, and in the 32nd minute, they had their first good attempt. Drmić found Abass, who shot from 20 meters. Five minutes later, Abass found Tomečak, who missed a great opportunity.
The post again saved Rijeka in the 41st minute after El Kaddouri tried to increase PAOK’s lead.
Rijeka started to settle in the second half, and PAOK was no longer as dangerous as in the first, but Rijeka still struggled to create opportunities. Selahi had a solid attempt from a distance in the 55th minute, and Tomečak’s shot in the 68th minute was blocked.
As the game drew to a close, Rijeka tried to be more and more offensive, and their concentration in defense dropped. Escoval easily lost the ball in the danger zone in the 80th minute; Kagawa passed to Murg, who calmly pushed it past the helpless Prskalo to seal their fate at 0:2.
Croatia will thus remain with one representative in European club competitions this season. Dinamo will play in the Europa League, and Rijeka failed to qualify for the Conference League group stage.
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