Humbled Olympiakos looking for a miracle

With its hopes for a lengthier run in this year’s Champions League already dashed for yet another season, Olympiakos, placed last in Group F, will need a convincing victory against Israeli opponent Maccabi Haifa in Athens tonight to snatch third place and a third-round berth in the less prestigious UEFA Cup as consolation. To accomplish this, scores of 3-0, 5-1, or 6-2 would do. Srecko Katanec, the 39-year-old former Slovenia coach who was recently appointed as Olympiakos’s new coach after Takis Lemonis was sacked, will debut with the Greek club in European competition at the Rizoupoli stadium. «All is possible in soccer. I know that my players will put in maximum effort. We can attain our objective,» Katanec said yesterday. «We’ve got nothing to lose, and this may help,» he added. The Slovenian remarked that, after studying his Israeli opponent and considering the game’s conditions, a defensive strategy was expected from Maccabi Haifa. «I know how they’re going to play and don’t think there will be any surprises,» noted Katanec. «I think that they won’t play attacking soccer, but defensive.»

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