Old age and individual errors detrimental, Sollied says

An aging team and individual errors contributed to Olympiakos’s 4-1 home defeat by Olympique Lyon on Tuesday night that ended their Champions League hopes, coach Trond Sollied said. «Olympiakos have the oldest team in the Champions League and sooner or later that is going to have to change,» said the Norwegian, whose team is bottom of Group F after four defeats from as many games. «We cannot change the roster now because it has been set, and remember that we also had three players out injured, but the team that played was the best we could put out.» Lyon, which has won all four of its matches in Group F of this year’s competition, advanced to the competition’s knockout stage. So too did Real Madrid, who have nine points, leaving Rosenborg and Olympiakos to fight over third place and a berth in the UEFA Cup. Olympiakos shocked the French champion in the third minute when Haruna Babangida scored. But Lyon hit back with two late goals before the interval, silencing the 33,000-capacity crowd at Karaiskaki Stadium. In the 41st, Olympiakos forward Rivaldo carelessly fouled on the edge of his box and Juninho stepped up to curl a free kick over the wall and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Kleopas Giannou. Juninho also scored with a free kick when Lyon defeated Olympiakos 2-1 in France two weeks ago. Diarra made it 3-1 in the 55th. Carew’s shot was well blocked by Kleopas but the ball fell to Diarra, who tapped the ball in. Two minutes later, Carew scored again. «We started well, but that’s soccer,» Olympiakos midfielder Yaya Toure said. Olympiakos played without Greece international goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis, sidelined by the flu. For a number of years the Olympiakos team has been centered on captain Predrag Djordjevic but, now 33, there are signs that his legs are tiring. On Tuesday, he was substituted in the second half. Working alongside him is Rivaldo, another 33-year-old, whose legs appear to be getting heavier. Of the players involved on Tuesday, defenders Grigoris Georgatos, Giorgos Anatolakis, Erol Bulut, midfielder Ieroklis Stoltidis and striker Dani Garcia, who was on the bench, are also over 30. Of the absentees, goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis is 34 and defender Michalis Kapsis 32. «For this year’s competition I cannot change anything, but what will happen for the future I cannot tell here and now. We knew Lyon were good but we made the best possible start and then gave away two goals at the end of the first half that knocked the wind out of us,» said Sollied. «Twice we conceded goals from dead balls. We have to believe that we can win against Rosenborg and take third spot. It is still possible. We have scored in every game so far but we have conceded goals too easily… You can do all the training you want but you cannot cover individual faults.» (Reuters, AP)

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