SPORTS

Atletico drubs Olympiakos 4-0, leaving Reds with slim chances of CL qualification

Atletico Madrid avenged its 3-2 defeat in Piraeus in September with a 4-0 win over Olympiakos on Wednesday, meaning the Greek champion only has mathematical hopes left for a spot in the next round of the Champions League.

A Mario Mandzukic hat trick after Raul Garcia’s opener sank Olympiakos that has scored no points from its three away games this season in the group stage of the competition.

Just eight and a half minutes into the game a poor clearance by Olympiakos keeper Roberto sent the ball right to the feet of Juanfran inside the Olympiakos box, and he fed Raul Garcia who made no mistake from close range.

After 1-0 Olympiakos balanced the game out as Atletico had got what it wanted and started conceding some ground to its visitor.

The Greeks threatened for the first time via an Eric Abidal volley on the 22nd minute.

Atletico began to turn the screw again after that, as Olympiakos appeared at times to have a big hole in the midfield.

The misfiring of the Madrid club’s strikers and the saves by Roberto were quickly forgotten when Olympiakos defender Alberto Botia failed to clear a cross from the left, letting the ball roll under his foot to the path of Mandzukic, who made it 2-0 with a simple tap-in on the 38th.

In the second half the Greeks side, coached by a Spaniard (Michel), actually had three Spanish players and only one Greek on the field to take on the Spanish champions.

Local knowledge turned to nothing as Mandzukic scored his second of the night on the hour mark, as he evaded Olympiakos left-back Omar Elabdellaoui to head a cross from the right into Roberto’s goal for 3-0.

Four minutes on, Mandzukic completed his hat-trick as he headed home a freekick from the right that the Olympiakos defense failed to meet, although it has been known since the start of the season that the “Rojiblancos” are set-piece experts.

Atletico substitute Antoine Griezmann had a goal disallowed for offside two minutes from time.

In its last group game next month Olympiakos needs to avoid defeat to visiting Malmo in order to continue in the Europa League. The only way for the Reds to make the next round of the Champions League is to beat Malmo and see Juventus lose at home to Atletico.