SPORTS

Imposing Olympiakos stuns United in Piraeus

By George Georgakopoulos

Olympiakos produced a stunning display to beat Manchester United 2-0 on Tuesday for the first-leg game of the Round of 16 of the Champions League and get the upper hand in the tie that has a ticket to the quarterfinals as its prize.

Greece’s Reds imposed their game, showing they did not fear the club with the highest number of English league titles, and capitalized on the poor season United is having to score their first ever win after four losses to the Red Devils.

Olympiakos had Michael Carrick pegged by its defensive midfielders to frustrate the transition game of the visitors and force them to resort to speculative crosses from the flanks in order to threaten the Greek champion. They were easy prey for the host's central defenders and keeper Roberto.

After missing a couple of decent chances in the first half-hour of the match, Olympiakos took a deserved lead. A Yiannis Maniatis shot from just outside the box had its direction changed by Chori Dominguez’s heel to fool keeper David de Gea and hit the back of the net in the 38th minute.

Then, 10 minutes into the second half Joel Campbell, on loan to Olympiakos from Arsenal, attempted a powerful 25-meter shot that beat De Gea for 2-0.

The Red Devils were unable to pose a genuine threat to Olympiakos, playing second fiddle to their host for the best part of the game, as superstars Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney went absent without a leave.

Therefore it was not a coincidence that the first real chance for the visitors came in the 81st minute, with Van Persie skying it from near the penalty spot.

The pressure the visitors applied on the Olympiakos goal in the last 10 minutes of the game came to nothing, and the second leg at Old Trafford next month could prove to be a historic night for Greek soccer.

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