Olympiakos on the brink
Olympiakos' 2-1 win at Lazio has put them on the brink of qualification from Group C.
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 28/11/07 10:40pm
Olympiakos' 2-1 win at Lazio has put them on the brink of qualification from UEFA Champions League Group C.
Luciano Galletti (35) and substitute Darko Kovacevic (64) scored the goals after Goran Pandev (30) had handed the hosts the lead.
The result is only the Greek team's second win in 33 games away from home in the competition and leaves them needing just a point from their last game at home to Werder Bremen to qualify.
Lazio head to group leaders Real Madrid on matchday six meanwhile, but do still have a mathematical chance of getting through to the knockout stages.
Pandev's goal punctuated a forgettable first half hour, which had seen Olympiakos' spoiling tactics win out.
Christos Patsatzoglou's wayward header from Predrag Djordjevic's free-kick was the only shot on goal until 30 minutes in when Stefano Mauri's flick-on found Lazio skipper Tommaso Rocchi breaking into the box.
The 30-year-old front-man rounded goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis far too easily and, though the ball appeared to have crossed the byline, his cut back freed Pandev to slot the ball home past two defenders on the line and hand the home side a 1-0 lead.
But the lead did not last long as Lomana LuaLua ran at the Italians' backline before feeding Ieroklis Stoltidis to lay the ball off for Galletti on the right-hand edge of the box. The Argentina striker then unleashed a strong shot to beat veteran Marco Ballotta's weak hand at the near post and make it 1-1.
Nikopolidis kept out a deflected shot from Macedonia marksman Pandev with six minutes left of the half, but the teams could not be separated at the interval.
Lazio came out looking much sharper after the break and nearly regained the lead after Greek goalkeeper Nikopolidis - making his 50th appearance in the UEFA Champions League - mishandled the ball to gift the Italians an early corner.
The keeper atoned for his error from the resulting set-piece though, despite failing to deal with the cross, when he showed real bravery in putting his body on the line to dive down with boots flying and force a clearance.
Pandev then showed great skill to bring down a long ball from halfway with his left foot, but Nikopolidis again got down well to block his shot.
Stoltidis then sent Djordevic away down the left midway through the half and the captain showed great composure to pick out substitute Kovacevic inside the six-yard box for the simplest of finishes to hand Olympiakos a vital 2-1 lead.
Djordjevic had the chance to seal the victory with 10 minutes remaining, but the tiring attacker could not find a finish.
Backed by their vocal away support though, Olympiakos ground out the win and put themselves on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages.