SPORTS

Win is crucial for Olympiakos

Olympiakos hosts Portuguese giant Benfica at the Karaiskaki Stadium tomorrow (at 9.45 p.m.) with victory the only option for the Greeks in Group B of the UEFA Cup. In front of 33,000 vociferous Greek fans, the Reds of Piraeus will hope to make up some of the ground lost in their 1-0 loss at Galatasaray last month in the only match they have played to date in the group stage of Europe’s second-tier club competition. Olympiakos is favorite to win the game given its perfect home record this season in all competitions, with eight wins from eight matches. Benfica, on the other hand, has not been traveling well in the last few years. It did however manage a 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin last month and would be happy with a similar result in Greece. The Greek champion’s Brazilian striker Diogo, who is more than likely to lead the host’s attack, said he is particularly fired up for this game given the high number of his compatriots who play for Benfica. However, the Portuguese side may also feature a Greek international, defensive midfielder Costas Katsouranis. He was ill earlier in the week but made it through a full training session yesterday and his Spanish coach, Quique Sanchez Flores, is likely to play him to make the most of his local knowledge. It will be interesting to see the reception Katsouranis will get from the Greek fans in the stands. Argentine sensation Pablo Aimar is another doubt for Flores. Olympiakos coach Ernesto Valverde still has worries about the fitness of Luciano Galletti, as his presence is essential for such a game. Galatasaray tops the group with six points, ahead of Hertha with two, Metalist Kharkiv of Ukraine and Benfica with one and Olympiakos with no points as yet.