Olympiakos 0-0 Barcelona: Greeks keep Lionel Messi quiet
By Will Unwin
Last Updated: 31/10/17 10:43pm
Barcelona dropped points for the first time in this year's Champions League as they were held to a goalless draw by Olympiakos.
The Greek hosts set themselves up to make things difficult for the Catalans who struggled to create much in front of a hostile atmosphere in Athens.
The visitors dominated possession and spent much of the game camped in the Olympiakos half but could not find the cutting edge required.
An out-of-sorts Luis Suarez should have won the game late on when he latched onto a Lionel Messi pass over the top, but his looping shot bounced off the bar and went over.
Olympiakos: Proto (8), Diogo (7), Botía (8), Engels (7), Koutris (8), Romao (7), Tachtsidis (7), Elabdellaoui (7), Odjidja (7), Carcela (7), Fortounis (7)
Subs: Pardo (6), Gillet (6), Djurdevic (6)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (7), Semedo (6), Umtiti (6), Mascherano (6), Alba (7), Paulinho (6), Busquets (7), Sergi Roberto (5), Denis Suarez (5), Luis Suarez (5), Messi (7)
Subs: Deulofeu (6), Rakitic (6), Andre Gomes (6)
Man of the match: Silvio Proto
Belgian Proto was the reason the scores stayed goalless, as he was able to repel numerous efforts from Barcelona, keeping out Messi twice.
Firstly, he turned a mishit shot from a corner wide and then was out quickly to narrow things for the Argentine as he ran through the defence before hitting one across Proto who stuck out a leg to stop the effort, as well as saving two well-taken free-kicks from the Barcelona man.
Messi was the only player to give Barcelona any impetus, dropping deep in the hope to have a greater impact on the game, as both Luis and Denis Suarez failed to impress alongside him.
Olympiakos played the majority of the game on the counter-attack, which bore little fruit as they played without a recognised striker, with Kostas Fortounis giving the thankless task of trying to pressure the Barcelona defence.
The best chance for the Greeks came when Fortounis ran onto a through ball, but his volley with the outside of his foot did not test Marc Andre ter Stegen from 15 yards.
Barcelona gave Denis Suarez the chance to shine as part of the front three with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. Sergi Roberto was pushed into midfield from full-back. Gerard Pique missed out through suspension.
The home fans were the most energetic thing about the game, making the experience as hostile as possible for the Catalans on their first visit to the Karaiskakis Stadium and they deserved to celebrate the point as much as the team, erupting as the final whistle blew.
Man of the match: Silvio Proto
The Olympiakos goalkeeper doesn't always fill fans with confidence, but he was repeatedly there to make saves against Barcelona, stopping Messi on a number of occasions to ensure his side picked up a point against the Catalans. His style can be a little unorthodox but he earned the result for his team, giving them a solid base to build upon.
La Liga leaders Barcelona host Sevilla live on Sky Sports at 7.45pm on Saturday.
Olympiakos welcome bottom off the league Platanias to Athens on Sunday.