Late Verbic equalizer gives Dynamo advantage
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - ROUND OF 32 (LEG 1)
|Olympiacos||2 - 2||Dynamo Kyiv|
Olympiacos had to settle for a 2-2 draw against Dynamo Kyiv on Thursday after the Ukrainians fought back twice at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in the first leg of their Round of 32 Europa League clash.
Ahmed Hassan’s opener and a stunning strike from the recent loan signing Gil Dias looked to be enough to give Pedro Martins’ Thrylos side a slender advantage in the tie coming either side of Vitaliy Buyalskiy’s reply for Dynamo.
But Benjamin Verbic’s late strike in the 89th minute gave the visitors a solid result and a second away goal.
The result leaves the tie delicately balanced slightly in Dynamo’s favor, but the Piraeus giants are by no means out of the running to seal a place in the last 16 of European football’s second-tier tournament.
The two teams face each other again in the second leg in Kyiv on February 21, where Olympiacos need to score if they are to harbour any hopes of progressing.
Olympiacos headed into this match on the back of a damaging 3-1 domestic defeat to title rivals PAOK - a result which has all but ended their SuperLeague title hopes. So it was imperative the home side put in an energetic and creative performance tonight, and they got the perfect start.
It took just nine minutes for the Thrylos to score, and it was a well-worked goal which allowed them to go ahead with the first shot of the game. Kostas Fortounis received possession in the box and did superbly to hold off his marker before laying the ball off to Hassan, who fired a left-footed shot across the keeper and into the back of the net.
The confidence flooded through the veins of the Olympiacos players after that, and they should have made it 2-0 on 19 minutes when Fortounis hit the woodwork. The Greece international nipped in front of Dynamo goalkeeper Denys Boyko as he came to claim the ball, rounded the keeper but got his shot wrong and his effort it the outside of the post.
Olympiacos lived to regret that miss after 27 minutes when the visitors levelled with their first real chance. Buyalskiy was the man on target with a clinical finish following a cross from Tomasz Kędziora, who hooked the ball back into the middle to give Buyalskiy an easy finish into the top corner.
The hosts responded though and restored their one goal advantage five minutes before half-time, and in spectacular fashion from Gil Dias. A free-kick was not dealt with by the Dynamo defence, and the ball found its way to the on-loan Monaco man, who chested it down before sending an unstoppable half-volley past Boyko from 25 yards out.
The pattern of the game followed the same rhythm in the second half, with Olympiacos plugging away in search of a third goal to put some distance between the two teams.
The home side did have a scare in the 70th minute when goalkeeper Jose Sa was called into action to deny Viktor Tsygankov, who had taken a touch and hit a powerful shot which seemed destined for the back of the net until the Portuguese shot-stopper’s intervention.
Apart from that effort, Dynamo failed to create a significant threat and Daniel Podence should have done better with two very good chances as the match entered the final quarter. The Portuguese winger first rounded the keeper before firing wide from an attacking surge down the right, and then rifled a shot into the side netting following another marauding run down the left channel.
Just when it seemed that Olympiacos would hold on for the win, a Dynamo counter attack brought the visitors level for a second time in the match. Tsygankov got the assist after nodding a cross down into the path of Verbic, who scuffed his effort into the turn but it bounced up and over the dive of José Sá to ruin the hosts’ night.
Olympiacos: 93 José Sá (GK), 4 Camara, 7 Fortounis (C), 12 Guilherme, 18 Hassan, 20 Meriah, 21 Tsimikas, 26 Vuković, 31 Gil Dias, 56 Daniel Podence, 66 Pape Abou Cisse
Dynamo Kyiv: 71 Boyko (GK), 7 Verbič, 8 Shepeliev, 9 Sol, 10 Shaparenko, 15 Tsygankov (C), 16 Mykolenko, 26 Burda, 29 Buyalskiy, 30 Shabanov, 94 Kędziora