PAOK howler could be problematic for Liverpool in the Champions League
Not for the first time this year, a goalkeeping howler has implications for Liverpool in the Champions League
With the Champions League draw to be conducted on Thursday, the last of the qualifiers were settled on Wednesday evening. Many supporters of Liverpool, last season's beaten finalists, will have had an eye on one of the games taking place in Greece.
As we explained earlier in the week, Jürgen Klopp's side would be assigned to pot three of the draw if Benfica got the better of PAOK in their qualifier, thus leaving them to potentially face a group of death. Should PAOK have progressed, Liverpool would be bumped up to pot 2.
With the first leg drawn 1-1 in Lisbon, an away goal for PAOK had appeared to make the Greek side favourites ahead of the return in Thessaloniki.
With 15 minutes played of the second leg, things were looking even better for PAOK (and Liverpool). An opening goal from Aleksandar Prijovic had put them ahead and in a good position to progress.
It didn't last, however.
Benfica drew level on 20 minutes through Jardel and then took the lead from the penalty spot thanks to a calamitous error from PAOK goalkeeper, Alexandros Paschalakis.
In an attempt to prevent a corner, Paschalakis went to ground to keep the ball in play. As he did so, his momentum caused him to slide off the pitch, allowing a Benfica player to nip in and get the ball.
Even though his opponent was moving away from goal, Paschalakis' attempts to atone for losing possession saw him clumsily bring the player down - gifting the visitors a crucial penalty.
The penalty was converted by Eduardo Salvio, giving Benfica a second away goal and putting them firmly in the driving seat for the Champions League group stages.
Benfica added a third before half-time, with Salvio scoring a second spot-kick shortly after half-time to put Benfica all but through.