CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: OLYMPIAKOS 1-4 PSG

ChampionsLeague

GROUP C – Tuesday 17th September 2013

OLYMPIAKOS 1-4 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Laurent Blanc took his expensively assembled squad to Greece for this opening game in Group C, and for the first 20 minutes his side looked second best.  Olympiakos came into the game fired up, and having the famous roar of their home crowd behind can’t have hurt, as they pressed and harassed the Ligue 1 champions in the early going.

The Paris club will have been relieved not to concede during this fiercely entertaining period, and may have thought they could finally settle when some of their big names combined to open the scoring. Full-back Maxwell was set free by a superb pass from Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovich on 19 minutes, and found Edison Cavani with a simple ball to give the forward an easy finish.

The goal did nothing to deter the Greek side however, and they were on level terms just six minutes later. Vladimir Weiss received the ball out wide on the right, and cut inside the 18 yard box with sublime skill, passing through the legs of debutant Marquinhos, and showing some tremendous footwork before firing home.

Level at the break, Blanc may have given his team quiet a talk as they were truly overrun in all areas in the first period. His side made amends in the second half however, coming out and beginning to dominate possession. Olympiakos held firm for 20 minutes, however the clever play of the Parisian attack soon began to wear them out.

On 68 minutes, last year’s forgotten man, Thiago Motta, stepped up to divert an Ezequiel Lavezzi corner into the back of the net. The marking was poor, and Michel in the Olympiakos dug out, will have hoped his team could learn from their mistakes. However, just 5 minutes later, Motta stepped up again, converting yet another corner in almost identical fashion – albeit this time a little more acrobatically.

The spirit of the home team was broken now, and PSG carried all of the momentum. On 82’, Ibrahimovich was brought down in the area and referee Felix Brych had no option but to award the spot kick. However, the uber-confident Swede stepped up and saw his penalty saved by goalkeeper Roberto Gago, who was quick to spring up and deny the striker a chance from the rebound.

And so, it was down to €30m man Marquinhos, signed from Roma this summer, to add the finishing touch to the win. He rose to meet another corner, this time from the right, in the 86th minute and condemned Olympiakos to a heavy defeat on this first evening of Champions League football.

Andrew Davidson

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WorldFootballWeekly.com

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