Super-sub Felipe Pardo turned things around for Olympiakos on Wednesday to lead the Greeks to their third win in four Champions League games, beating 10-man Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 in Piraeus.
Colombian Pardo came on as a substitute in the 64th minute and scored twice to overcome a first-half lead for the Croats and take the Reds within one point from qualifying for the last 16 of the competition.
The significance of the game made Olympiakos error-prone and often disorientated in the first half, but its quality made the difference in the second half against a defense-minded visitor.
Dinamo silenced the Karaiskakis Stadium halfway through the first half when Josip Pivaric broke free from the left and sent a perfect cross into the Olympiakos area for Armin Hodzic to head into the net.
The Greeks seemed to be in shock for the rest of the first half, but started very well following the interval to earn a penalty after seven minutes. However Costas Fortounis’s spot-kick was rather weak and Dinamo keeper Eduardo dived to save it. The ball fell to Fortounis again, but he could only send it to the stands.
Then on the 65th Pardo scored within one minute of his introduction on the pitch, as he collected a pass from Brown Ideye to drive the ball home with his left foot from inside the area.
Pardo made sure that Pivaric saw a second yellow card by outfoxing the Croat, leaving him no other option but to stop the Colombian from behind and earn himself an early shower with 11 minutes left to play.
Olympiakos's patience paid off in the last of the 90 minutes as Pardo made the most of a Fortounis chip over the Dinamo defense to bury the ball into Eduardo’s goal.
The result means that Olympiakos is now on nine points, level with Bayern Munich at the top of the group’s table with two games left to play. A draw in Munich or at home with Arsenal – or even a one-goal loss at home to Arsenal will suffice for the Greek champion to return to the knock-out stages of the Champions League.