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UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - PLAYOFFS (LEG 2)
|Rijeka||0 - 1||Olympiacos|
|(1 - 3)
Olympiacos progressed to the Champions League group stage on Tuesday after a narrow 0-1 away win over Croatian side Rijeka in the second leg of their playoff clash completed a 3-1 aggregate victory.
German forward Marko Marin scored the only goal of the game on the night at the Stadion HNK Rijeka in a tense encounter which the home side wasted several chances to score and ultimately bowed out.
The result and subsequent qualification for the lucrative group stages of Europe’s elite competition marks a significant achievement for recently-installed coach Besnik Hasi, whose team successfully negotiated two tricky qualifying rounds against quality opponents in Partizan Belgrade and Rijeka.
Following last week’s superb comeback 2-1 win in the home leg, Olympiacos simply had to stand firm in Croatia and despite long spells of pressure from the hosts, the Greek champions did just that.
The key moment came in the 25th minute when after a strong opening from Rijeka, Marin pounced to score what proved to be the decisive goal.
Vadis Odjidja, who was one of the key performers for the Red and Whites in both matches of the tie, played a neat pass through to release the German, who dinked the ball in to give Olympiacos the advantage.
The visitors more or less shut up shop and sought to defend their advantage while trying to hit on the break, and it proved a successful policy as Rijeka failed to penetrate Stefano Kapino’s goal.
Olympiacos now go into the group stage draw on Thursday for the 18th time in the club’s history.