In the much anticipated Northern Derby, Aris managed to hold PAOK to a credible 1:1 draw at the Toumba Stadium, in turn starting their 2018/2019 Greek Cup campaign on a positive note.
Taking into account PAOK’s superb start to the new season, the Dikefalos tou Vorra were large favourites to take the derby spoils against arch-rivals Aris in front of their home fans, but despite Dimitris Pelkas breaking the deadlock, a costly error from Ukrainian defender Yevhen Khacheridi gifted the visitors a vital point.
Inside a packed, pumped up Toumba Stadium, PAOK immediately took the initiative, earning a penalty after 25 minutes as Hamza Younes was guilty of an obvious handball inside the area. PAOK captain Dimitris Pelkas, who has started the campaign in impressive fashion, duly converted the subsequent spot kick, thumping the ball over visiting goalkeeper Julian Cuesta.
However, instead of allowing PAOK to dominate, Aris fought their way back into proceedings and equalised deep in first half stoppage time. Following a careless pass by Khacheridi, Aris managed to pick out the lurking Mateo Garcia, and the 22-year old Argentinian midfielder curled a gorgeous effort past Rodrigo Rey.
Knocked by that surprise Aris goal, PAOK failed to find their rhythm and in a huge blow to their hopes of winning, Stelios Kitsiou was handed his marching orders for a second yellow card on 59 minutes. With the numerical advantage, Aris were now the ones pressing, however their finishing touch was lacking and PAOK escaped with an unconvincing point.