PAOK has been sent crashing out of the UEFA Champions League third Qualifying Round after a disastrous 3-3 home draw with AFC Ajax.

Despite going into the second leg in Thessalonica in a good position following last week’s 1-1 draw in Amsterdam, PAOK was knocked out thanks to the away goals rule with the score tied at 4-4 after both legs.

Omonia was thrashed 5-2 on aggregate by FC Salzburg as Huub Stevens’s team scored three times before the break en route to a comprehensive defeat of their Cypriot visitors.

PAOK     3

Ajax (NED)     3

(Ajax wins on away goals rule: 4-4)

Ajax survived a major scare in the final stages of the match as PAOK clawed its way from 1-3 down after Ajax scored three goals in seven second half minutes.

Ajax took an early lead in last week’s first leg before being pegged back and the roles were initially reversed in Thessalonica as Vieirinha’s header put the hosts in front.

It remained that way at half-time, but within ten minutes of the restart goals from Luis Suarez, Siem de Jong and Rasmus Lindgren had turned this third qualifying round tie on its head.

The salvo left PAOK needing three goals – they managed two, Vladimir Ivic also missing a penalty.

The relief among the Ajax players at full time was palpable, and they knew they were in for a stiff examination from the off in north-west Greece.

Maarten Stekelenburg had already denied Dimitris Salpingidis on the goal line when Vieirinha struck and the visitors struggled to prise an opening.

They did not need to, a series of defensive lapses allowing Suarez to turn things around, in 49th minute, when a long ball was missed by a succession of PAOK defenders who then allowed Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez to control the ball, swivel and hit a low shot into the net.

Two minutes later Suarez became the provider and Siem de Jong was able to pounce onto a low ball into the box between two PAOK defenders to make it 2-1 to the Dutch.

Lindgren earned more breathing space when his free-kick found its way past Dario Kresic and PAOK’s crumbling defence. It was a shell-shock which the hosts could not quite recover from.

But when Salpingidis made it 3-2, it looked set for a grandstand finish when Vurnon Anita then brought down Anis Boussaidi 13 minutes from time.

Hero of the first leg, Ivic failed to beat Stekelenburg from the spot – his 91st-minute equaliser was all too late.

PAOK will now turn its attention to the draw for the Europa League, which takes place on Friday.

FC Salzburg     4

AC Omonia     1

(Salzburg win on agg: 5-2)

Franz Schiemer scored twice as FC Salzburg qualified for the Champions League play-offs courtesy of a 5-2 aggregate success against Omonia.

Having drawn the first leg 1-1 a week earlier, Salzburg effectively killed the tie before the break with a strike from Dusan Svento and two Schiemer efforts.

Joaquin Boghossian increased the hosts’ advantage just before the hour, with Hernan Rengifo’s added-time reply proving nothing more than consolation for the Cypriot outfit.

Drafted in at the 11th hour after Andreas Ulmer suffered an injury in the warm up, Svento made the most of his unexpected opportunity in the 21st minute by firing Salzburg ahead from 25 metres.

A little over a quarter of an hour later Schiemer headed in the Austrian champions’ second, and was celebrating again five minutes before half-time, this time after volleying Christoph Leitgeb’s left-wing cross past Antonis Georgallides.

The towering Boghossian made his height tell on 58 minutes with Salzburg’s second header of the match as Huub Stevens’ side moved within one of the five goals they scored at home in the previous round against HB Torshavn.

Rengifo did at least ensure Omonia had something to take away in what was otherwise a dispiriting evening. Sweeping in to capitalise on a loose ball after Efstathios Aloneftis’s corner had caused confusion in the Salzburg area.