SPORTS

Injury time hurts Olympiakos

LA CORUNA (Reuters) – An injury-time strike from Juan Carlos Valeron allowed Deportivo to scramble to a 2-2 draw against Olympiakos in their Champions League Group G match at the Riazor stadium late on Tuesday. Deportivo looked destined for a rare home defeat when Olympiakos hit two quick goals from Stelios Giannakopoulos and Peter Oforiquaye in the 80th and 82nd minutes. Olympiakos started the match in determined fashion and Yugoslav international Predrag Djordjevic was an early threat with his probing runs on the left, but once they settled it was the Galician side that dominated. It took a goal-line clearance from Jorge Bermudez to stop Deportivo from taking an early lead after Diego Tristan seemed certain to score. Tristan latched on to Victor’s defense-splitting pass, took the ball wide past the advancing goalkeeper Dimitris Eleftheropoulos and sent the ball goalward, only to see Colombian defender Bermudez slide in and direct the ball wide. A few minutes later, Eleftheropoulos managed to get his foot to Donato’s powerful header just before it crossed the line. But Deportivo deservedly took the lead with their next attack. Sergio Gonzalez broke through on the right and cut back a neat pass across the edge of the area. Uruguayan striker Walter Pandiani fluffed his shot and the ball rolled into the path of Fran, who blasted the ball past the powerless Eleftheropoulos in the 22nd minute. Deportivo dominated the remainder of the half, but received a heavy blow when Victor was forced to leave the pitch after a heavy two-footed challenge from Brazilian Ze Elias. The beginning of the second half was a carbon copy of the first, with Olympiakos taking the game to the Spaniards, and it took some good work from veteran defender Donato and Nourredine Naybet to snuff out a series of dangerous-looking attacks. The entry of substitute Oforiquaye changed the course of the match. In the 80th minute he snapped up a through ball to fire a sharp shot straight at Jose Molina. The Deportivo keeper could only palm the ball into the path of Giannakopoulos who slotted it into the open goal. Two minutes later, Oforiquaye added one of his own. Christian Karembeu split the Deportivo defense with a neat ball to Giovanni, whose unselfish pass was met by the advancing Ghanaian international and who finished with a simple tap-in. All this gives plenty of solid material for Victoras Ardittis, the new director of the State Theater of Northern Greece, to start working with.