SPORTS

Injury-hit Olympiakos goes all out for victory

Olympiakos will be going into tonight’s crucial Champion’s League Group G clash at home against France’s Lille without several key players, all injured, which will force coach Takis Lemonis to rethink his strategy for a game which the Greek champions must win to have any mathematical chance of progressing to the second phase. The team’s captain, Stelios Yiannakopoulos, who pulled a hamstring muscle during last weekend’s 1-1 draw against PAOK for the National League, will be forced to sit it out. At this stage, club doctors are racing against time for a quick recovery, but the player, one of Olympiakos’s most valuable so far this season, may also miss next week’s game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Brazilian forward Giovanni, who has a leg injury, is a doubtful inclusion. This will force coach Takis Lemonis to rethink his attack. Adding to the team’s woes, Brazilian defender Ze Elias has a groin injury and will miss tonight’s clash. Striker Lambros Houtos, sidelined by a knee injury, is also unavailable. Yet, despite the drawbacks, Olympiakos has no other option but to attempt victory against Lille after managing to accumulate just one point in three games so far. The Greek champion team had drawn away against Deportivo La Coruna in its opening match after the Spanish side equalized in the clash’s dying stages, before losing against Lille, away, and Manchester United, at home. There is no other way than for us to win. We shouldn’t get deflected by point scenarios, what’s important to us is victory in this game, Lemonis said. Lille are very strong opponents in all positions. We have just played our most difficult away match of the season. Maybe we have more pressure than we should now to get a result, he added in reference to Sunday’s draw with PAOK. The performance, though in Greek, shows the extent of Valentin’s use of language, and his love for situation comedy and word-play.