SPORTS

Olympiakos crashes out of Europe in extra time

olympiakos-crashes-out-of-europe-in-extra-time

Two goals by Ghanaian Frank Acheampong gave Anderlecht a 2-1 extra-time victory in Piraeus as Olympiakos was uncharacteristically toothless in attack and lost 3-1 on aggregate to bow out of the Europa League on Thursday, with its only goal over the two legs coming from a highly controversial penalty at home.

The second-leg match was marred by clashes between the two sets of fans and the attack of a few hundred Olympiakos fans against 10 police officers before kick-off at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium. This followed a huge bust-up on Wednesday night in central Athens between Anderlecht and Olympiakos fans with four people injured and six Belgians arrested.

After the 1-0 loss in the first leg in Brussels, Olympiakos went out on Thursday in search of an early goal, but came close to conceding one early on when the referee stopped an Anderlecht attack for a hand ball, although it could have been a red card to Olympiakos’s Alberto Botia.

The Reds put pressure on the Belgian goal and were awarded a penalty on the 28th minute for an alleged hand ball by Kara Mbodji that also never was. Olympiakos’s top scorer in the league, Costas Fortounis converted the kick for 1-0.

Almost 20 minutes into the second half Anderlecht came mighty close to equalizing, but Andy Najar’s shot from the right hit the woodwork.

The two goalkeepers, Roberto and Silvio Proto, had plenty of work to do and rose to the challenge time and again, with one spectacular save each in the last few minutes of regulation time.

However an error sequence that started by Roberto, and carried on by Luka Milivojevic and Arthur Masuaku, allowed Anderlecht to equalize as Steven Defour found Acheampong and he scored on the 13th minute of extra time.

Halfway through the second half of extra time Anderlecht produced its typical game of counter attacks in response to the Olympiakos pressure and scored its winning goal using the same combination as Defour picked Acheampong for the goal that sealed the end of Olympiakos’s season in Europe.