Amr Warda’s first Champions League goal helps PAOK Thessaloniki FC hold Benfica

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The 24-year-old old came off the bench to earn the black and whites a vital away draw at Estadio da Luz

Egypt international Amr Warda was PAOK Thessaloniki’s hero as they played out a 1-1 draw at Benfica in Tuesday’s Champions League first leg play-offs.

Warda rifled from close range past goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos after Fernando Varela’s header off Dimitris Pelkas’ free-kick had kissed the crossbar.

Pizzi had given the hosts the lead from the penalty spot after Jonas was fouled by Maurício on the stroke of half time.

Benfica continued their dominance in the second half before manager Razvan Lucescu threw the Egyptian into the fray for Dimitrios Limnios.

In the 67th minute, Warda had a clear-cut chance to level scores but his effort went over the cross bar despite having just Vlachodimos to beat.

And nine minutes later, he drilled home the equaliser to the excitement of the away fans. However, he was cautioned in the 89th minute for his foul against Rafa Silva.

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Chuba Akpom made a cameo appearance for the Greek outfit after replacing Aleksandar Prijovic with three minutes left to play.

The draw hands PAOK a slight advantage going into the second leg of the play-off billed for August 29 at Stadio Toumbas Thessaloníki.

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