SPORTS

Roberto heroics see Olympiakos beat Benfica

Olympiakos is within one win from clinching a spot in the knock-out stages of the Champions League after miraculously beating visiting Benfica 1-0 in Piraeus on Tuesday although it could have conceded two or three goals at least to a superior opponent.

The Reds have Spanish goalkeeper Roberto to thank for this victory as the Portuguese would easily beat the Greek defense but were unable to defeat their former keeper in at least six occasions.

On the other end Olympiakos produced very little in attack, but had defender Costas Manolas score after 13 minutes, as he rose unhindered from the penalty spot to send a bullet header into the net after a corner from the left.

Roberto time and again spared Olympiakos defenders’ their blushes with his saves, frustrating the visitors and galvanizing the capacity crowd at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium that grew increasingly worried about the Greek champion’s performance. Yet this simply was not Benfica’s night.

This will be a game that the Reds will wish to forget quickly, as they seemed unable to enjoy any possession in midfield leaving Costas Mitroglou and Javier Saviola (in the first half) isolated up front, while Benfica often ran rings around the Olympiakos defenders.

The final whistle was greeted with major jubilation and relief in Piraeus, with players celebrating what looks like being the result that will send the Greeks to the next round.

With two games left to play in the group (at Paris St. Germain and at home against Anderlecht), Olympiakos needs three points to mathematically qualify to the last 16 of the competition.