Date: 3 August 2021
Competition: Europa Conference League Third Qualifying Round
Result: Bohemians 2 – 1 PAOK Thessaloniki
Tickets: €20 adults, minimum two tickets due to covid restrictions.
Attendance: 8,000 sold out, covid restricted.
The game: Bohemians are getting increasingly impressive in these Europa Conference League games, so much so that it’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since they were in Europe. PAOK are serious opposition, featuring Shinji Kagawa and a number of other fill internationals (though it probably has to be said that Kagawa was the worst player on the pitch today).
Aside from the opening five minutes, whch saw PAOK on top, Bohs dominated much of prceddings, though they did survive a poor PAOK miss when they got clean through on goal early on. In response, a lovely move set up Ali Coote, who then grabbed a second from a deep corner that the PAOK goalkeeper made an absolute mess of.
PAOK got one back late on, as Bohs tired, but any kind of win here is a hgue result for Bohs given the disparity of resources. I particularly love that Bohs are fan owned, and while stuff like this won’t make waves on any major level, it’s nice to occasionally see on in the face of hyper-commercial football. Hopefully they can hang on away in Greece.
The ground: The Aviva feels a bit weird in covid times, a bit empty and soulless, but to be fair to Bohs fans they vocally lit it up, making far more noise than you’d think was possible in a hollow-ish, 15% full ground. I do like the view from up on high – the opposite side to where I usually sit – and it must feel great for players used to the League of Ireland to play here. More of this, please.
Extras: Nothing much aside from a fairly lousy half-time coffee and a nice lively atmosphere.
Assorted asides: Bohs have some great ‘headcase’ fans. I found myself weaving through them on the way out as they belted out their songs, with one lad having to prop himself up on a car as he’d clearly had a few too many. I’d have gone in the pubs, too, but it doesn’t feel like the time and I had to drive, but they looked fun.
My totals for the year so far:
Games: 4. Home wins: 3. Draws: 1
Goals: 15. Home goals: 12. Away goals: 3. Goals per game: 3.75
A few pics: