Costas Mitroglou returned to scoring after 10 long months to seal a famous victory for Olympiakos in the Champions League as the Greek champion defeated visiting Atletico Madrid 3-2 on Tuesday for a perfect start to the tournament.
Despite having played no meaningful games against strong sides this season to date, Olympiakos appeared ready for the opening game of the group stage and deserved its victory against the pool’s favorite.
Atletico manager Diego Simeone looked on powerless from the stands – he was serving a touchline ban – as the Spanish champion was second best on the night in Piraeus. Michel, his Olympiakos counterpart and a former Real Madrid midfielder, avenged in a way the Atletico triumph in the Madrid derby three nights earlier.
The first goal for Olympiakos came just 12 minutes into the game, as a low, bouncing shot from the left by full-back Arthur Masuaku found the inside of the net of goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Former Barcelona star Ibrahim Affelay doubled the hosts’ lead on the 31st thanks to a great solo effort by Chori Dominguez and dummy by Mitroglou.
Mario Mandzukic reduced the arrears for last season’s finalist with a header from the right after a Cristian Ansaldi cross from the left, for a 2-1 score at half-time.
The second half started with Atletico pushing forward for an equalizer and coming close on two occasions. The Piraeus team chose to absorb the visitors’ pressure and keeper Roberto had the answers to Atletico’s questions.
Olympiakos made it 3-1 against the run of play, as Pajtim Kasami cross from the right picked Mitroglou inside the box, and the Greece striker turned about and fired the ball past Oblak, amid rapturous celebrations at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.
Atletico applied more pressure and with four minutes left on the clock Antoine Griezmann made it 3-2 with a tap-in after a Koke cross from the right.
The last few minutes were thrilling with chances on both ends, but Olympiakos held on and celebrated a home win at the start of a Champions League campaign for the first time in five seasons.