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Omonia take on PAOK Salonika in group stage opener

Omonia take on Greek club PAOK Salonika on Thursday night (19.55 kick-off) in their first game of the Europa League group stage at Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki.
Nicosia giants Omonia are in confident mood ahead of their clash with Paok Salonika in Greece on Thursday night

Omonia take on Greek club PAOK Salonika on Thursday night (19.55 kick-off) in their first game of the Europa League group stage at Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki.

Speaking to the club’s own TV channel Omonia FC TV before the match, attacking midfielder Eric Bautheac urged his team-mates to show bravery during the encounter.

“We have to try and play our game. We should not be afraid to play at our level”, Bautheac said.

“I think we will play well because we have very experienced players in the side as well as very talented youngsters. We also have very good backroom staff and a very good manager. We should enjoy this competition and see where it takes us”, he added.

Manager Henning Berg also spoke to the club’s internal TV channel, saying that the game will be far from easy for the Cypriot club.

“It will be a very difficult game for us. They are a very good side. They won the title a few years and often finish second in the Greek league”, Berg said.

“We cannot wait for this game because we enjoy playing such teams and we want to improve as a side and test ourselves against the best”, he added.

Berg also spoke on what his side must do in order to stand a chance of getting a positive result.

“We have to defend well as we will play against a very good team and we will definitely need to use the ball well and create opportunities so that we can score if we can”, Berg said.

“To be honest, it is good for us that we play these games, because when you play against a team with intensity and quality you can develop your own game”, the Norwegian added.

Berg ended the interview with a message to Omonia’s fans, expressing his sadness at them not being able to experience such an occasion up close.

“We will do the best we can in these games and it’s a shame that the fans will not be with us at the stadium but we know that they will be in front of the television and also in our hearts”, the Omonia manager said.

“We cannot wait to see them again when we play in the league or perhaps they might be able to see us in a European game later on. It’s a bit difficult these days as we don’t know much about how the future will unfold and if we will have fans at the stadium”, he concluded.

PAOK will be without centre-back Jose Angel Crespo and central midfielder Omar El Kaddouri due to injury, although the former is closer to a return and is now following an individual fitness recovery programme.

The game is expected to take place as planned despite two Paok players recently testing positive for Covid-19.

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