TUESDAY 25th FEBRUARY 2014 – LAST 16 FIRST LEG
OLYMPIAKOS 2-0 MANCHESTER UNITED
Greek Superleague leaders Olympiakos swept aside a lacklustre Manchester United team 2-0 to see David Moyes side on the verge of an exit in the last 16.
United struggled to string two or three passes together and even with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie spearheading their attack, the Red Devils lacked attacking vigour to break down the Greeks.
After an uncomfortable quarter of hour in front of the 32,000 hostile fans in the Karaiskakis Stadium, United eventually began to get a grip in the match and on 17 minutes, they had their first chance. A weak Rooney corner was only half-cleared but when the ball fell perfectly for Tom Cleverley, the midfielder mis-fired his shot over the bar.
The hosts clinched the lead on 38 minutes after Joel Campbell’s cross was headed clear but only as far as Giannis Maniatis on the edge of the penalty area. The midfielder drive the ball low towards goal through a crowd of players, Alejandro Domínguez was on hand with clever flick to divert the ball into the bottom corner beyond the despairing dive of David de Gea.
Characterless and unproductive, United deserved to fall behind, although it was in truth, it was an unfortunate goal to concede. Olympiakos went down the tunnel at half-time in the lead, but had it not been for some excellent defending from Nemanja Vidić they could have lead by more. After the interval it got worse for David Moyes and United.
In the 55th minute we saw a wonderful goal from the home side. The on-loan Joel Campbell cut inside from the right to seize on a loose ball. The Arsenal man skipped past Michael Carrick before bending an exquisite shot with his left foot into the corner beyond De Gea from the edge of the area. A splendid goal from the 21-year-old that Gunners manager Arsene Wenger will be proud of.
The home side almost made it three when Nigerian striker Michael Olaitan lashed a ferocious shot narrowly wide that got the crowd off their seats.
Manchester United had very few chances created to get a goal back and the disappointing Van Persie had best chance in the final ten minutes. The Dutchman found himself clear on goal but with only the keeper to beat, he blasted the ball way over the crossbar.
Manchester United know they will face an uphill battle to overturn a tenacious Olympiakos in the return leg at Old Trafford on March 19th with the Greeks will be looking to reach their first Champions League quarter final in four years.
OLYMPIAKOS: Roberto, Leonardo Salino, Manolas, Marcano, Holebas, Maniatis, N’Dinga, Campbell (David Fuster 67), Dominguez (Paulo Machado 76), Perez (Valdez 86), Olaitan.
SUBS NOT USED: Megyeri, Samaris, Papadopoulos, Bong.
GOALS: Dominguez 38, Campbell 54.
MAN UTD: De Gea, Smalling, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidić, Cleverley (Welbeck 60), Carrick, Valencia (Kagawa 61), Young, Rooney, Van Persie.
SUBS NOT USED: Lindegaard, Büttner, Fellaini, Giggs, Hernández.
BOOKINGS: Evra 3, Ferdinand 90.
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