-- At the Karaiskaki to Clinch Progression --
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - GROUP B (MATCHDAY 4)
|Astana||1 - 1||Olympiacos|
|Despotovic 8'||Seba 29'|
Olympiacos got a point in Kazakhstan against Astana for the 4th Matchday of the Europa League Group stage and with a win in Matchday 5 at home to Young Boys they will clinch their progression to the Knockout Stages. Olympiacos fell behind when Despotovic opened the scoring for the hosts before Seba equalized, giving Olympiacos a hard earned 1-1 draw on the road.
Paulo Bento had his mind on Sunday’s derby against Panathinaikos and made many changes to Olympiacos’ starting XI. Olympiacos began the match in the worst possible fashion, falling behind in the 8th minute when Despotovic turned in Twumasi’s cross to give Astana the early lead. The goal “sparked a fire” in the Olympiacos players as they began to take control of possession and created their first good effort with Cardozo’s blocked shot in the 21st minute. The match had a fast pace, something that suited the Erythrolefki, and in the 29th minute Olympiacos pulled level. Manthatis’ cross was met by Seba’s header which found the back of the net for his 3rd European goal of the season. Before the end of the half, Seba was brought down in the box but the referee wrongfully allowed play to continue.
In the second half, Olympiacos continued to control the game as neither side really posed a threat until the 70th minute when Elyounoussi’s (subbed on) shot was denied by Eric. With 5 minutes remaining, Olympiacos was inches away from a winner, but Martins’ powerful strike rattled the crossbar and stayed out. The visitors created one final chance in stoppage time to walk away with all 3 points, however Cardozo was unable to score his first goal with the club as his header went over the bar. The final whistle came and the teams earned a point from their 1-1 draw.
The draw puts Olympiacos on 7 points from 4 matches and will await the result from APOEL’s match against Young Boys later today. On matchday 5, Olympiacos will look to clinch their place in the knockout stages when they host Young Boys at the Karaiskaki Stadium. Astana remains at the bottom of the table with only 2 points from 4 matches.
*For more on Olympiacos in the UEFA Europa League, visit the Olympiacos Europa League homepage on AGONAsport.com...