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Historic Olympiakos triumph at Arsenal

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

Olympiakos defeated Arsenal 2-1 in the last minute of extra time in London, against all odds, and qualified to the last 16 of the Europa League in a historic night not only for the Piraeus club but also for Greek soccer in general.

In what was arguably one of the best away games ever for the Reds, they overturned their 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Piraeus to win 1-0 after 90 minutes and bounce back after Arsenal’s equalizer in extra time to score in the dying minutes of the game at the Emirates and dump the Premier League side out of the tournament.

In the first half Arsenal seemed quite toothless, with Olympiakos keeping the hosts away with relative ease.

In the second half the visitors stunned Arsenal as on the 53rd minute Mathieu Valbuena picked Pape Abou Cisse in the area and he headed the ball home to level the aggregate score between the two teams, to the ecstatic celebration of the 6,000 Greeks at the stands.

Arsenal put a lot of pressure in the rest of regulation time, but could not find a way through, so the 90 minutes ended with a 0-1 score.

In extra time Olympiakos missed two glorious chances to add to its tally. One minute before the extra-time half-time Bruno Gaspar narrowly missed out on scoring. Then three minutes into the second half of extra time Giorgos Massouras saw his shot come off the crossbar in the moment that could have settled the tie in the Greeks’ favor.

Five minutes later Pierre Emerick Aubameyang equalized for the London giants with a spectacular strike that appeared to give the hosts the ticket to the next round.

Yet just when it all seemed lost for the Reds, Massouras crossed the ball and Youssef El-Arabi scored from close range on the 120th minute of the game to gift Olympiakos one of the biggest victories in its history.

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