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PAOK vs Heart of Midlothian betting tips: Europa Conference League play-off round second leg preview, predictions, team news and odds

PAOK vs Heart of Midlothian odds and betting statistics



PAOK vs Heart of Midlothian match preview

Having suffered defeat at Tynecastle last Thursday, Heart of Midlothian travel to Thessaloniki as massive underdogs to get through this tie now.

A week ago, it all started so well for Hearts, taking the lead courtesy of talismanic centre-forward Lawrence Shankland, converting a ninth minute penalty.

But, PAOK went straight up the other end and were awarded a spot-kick of their own by referee Andris Treimanis, with Stefan Schwab sending Zander Clark the wrong way to equalise.

In the second half, the Greek visitors asserted their control in Gorgie and duly found the winner 15 minutes from time, as Andrija Živković lashed home a long-range shot from the edge of the area.

So, having left Edinburgh with a 2-1 victory, can PAOK now finish the job back at home?

The White-Blacks got all the way to the quarter-finals of this competition just two years ago, before being catastrophically dumped out in the second qualifying round by Levski Sofia this time last year.

Heart of Midlothian meanwhile overcame Rosenborg in the previous round, losing 2-1 in Trondheim before a famous 3-1 victory at home.

Nevertheless, most agreed that Hearts needed to win the home leg of this tie to have any chance of getting through so Steven Naismith’s side now have a mountain to climb.

PAOK are not only strong favourites to get through this one, but most would expect Toumba Stadium to witness a home win.

PAOK team news

Russian international Magomed Ozdoyev can return to midfield, having not featured in the first leg, after the UK government denied him a visa.

Baba Rahman can also return at left-back, having sat out the trip to Tynecastle injured, while Brandon Thomas is likely to lead the line, chosen over Mbwana Ally Samatta or Stefanos Tzimas.

Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Kotarski; Kędziora, Troost-Ekong, Koulierakis, Rahman; Ozdoyev, Schwab, Taison, Živković, Konstantelias; Samatta.

Heart of Midlothian team news

Steven Naismith made five changes for Sunday’s trip to Dundee, a game the Jambos lost 1-0, but all the key starters will return here, as Hearts aim to upset the odds.

As he continues to recover following 12 months on the sidelines, Liam Boyce was not risked at Dens Park, but will return here, in-behind captain Lawrence Shankland in attack.

Barrie McKay went off injured last Thursday, a real blow for him, so Yutaro Oda could get the nod out-wide, with new signing Kenneth Vargas on the other flank.

Midfielder Cammy Devlin was the hero in the second leg against Rosenborg, scoring the equaliser and then the stoppage time winner, so can he pull off something similar in Thessaloniki?

Predicted XI (4-4-1-1): Clark; Atkinson, Rowles, Kent, Kingsley; Devlin, Cochrane, Oda, Vargas; Boyce; Shankland.

UEFA Europa Conference League play-off round results & fixtures


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Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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