Olympiakos one step away from next stage

Having gone into the current Champions League season without a single away win after countless attempts, Olympiakos achieved its second win on the road, 2-1 against Lazio in Rome Wednesday night, to co-head Group C and stand poised for a place in the prestigious competition’s next stage, the Round of 16. The Piraeus club has been dominant in Greece over the past decade but unsuccesful in Europe. Olympiakos rebounded after Lazio went ahead in the 30th minute. Two summer signings, Luciano Galletti and Darko Kovacevic, scored for Olympiakos, in the 35th and 64th minutes respectively. A draw in its last group game at home against Werder Bremen on December 11 would assure Olympiakos a berth in the next round for only the second time. At worst, Olympiakos has virtually secured a place in the UEFA Cup’s next stage. Werder Bremen remains in contention for one of Group C’s top two spots and a Round of 16 place following a 3-2 home win against Real Madrid, also on Wednesday. Had the Spaniards emerged with a draw, Olympiakos would have already clinched its place in the next round. With one round of group play to go, Olympiakos and Real Madrid are tied at the top of Group C with eight points apiece from five games. Werder is third on six points, and Lazio last with five points. «Our aim was to continue in European competition and we have achieved that goal,» said Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis. «I’m very pleased with the team – they are beginning to show really good character,» he continued. «The game against Werder at home is going to be very tricky,» he warned. «It’s not always easy to know that you don’t have to win but we have plenty of time ahead of us to think about it.»