Olympiacos see off Basaksehir
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - 3rd QUALIFYING ROUND (2nd LEG)
Olympiacos booked their place in the UEFA Champions League playoffs on Tuesday after a 2-0 win over Istanbul Basaksehir saw them complete a 3-0 aggregate success in their third qualifying round tie.
Pedro Martins’ men, who won 1-0 in the first leg in Turkey last week, finished the job with the minimum of fuss at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium with Ruben Semedo’s 55th-minute strike proving the difference on the night.
It means the Thrylos now face a playoff tie against the winners of the Porto-Krasnodar tie. The matches will be played on 21 & 27 August, while the losers drop into the Europa League playoffs.
Olympiacos headed into this match quietly confident of getting the job done, despite having been under the cosh for long spells last week at the Fatih Terim stadium against Turkish football’s Nouveau-riche.
The Turks needed to push forward in search of the goal that would keep them in the tie, while Olympiacos, on the other hand, could afford to be a bit more patient and exploit the space on counter-attacks as they attempted to do in the first leg.
But that’s not quite the way the first half panned out with the hosts seemingly keen to extend their advantage with Guilherme hitting the woodwork after just four minutes with a powerful shot following a lively start.
After that Basaksehir found their rhythm though and were unlucky not to score with two great chances with Edin Višća and Enzo Crivelli after seven and 10 minutes, and Robinho after 35 minutes.
But thankfully for the home side, neither man could find a way past Sa, who once again produced a brilliant performance between the posts.
The breakthrough for Olympiacos finally came 10 minutes into the second half, and it was Semedo who was in the right place at the right time to score.
The dreadlocked defender latched on to Miguel Angel Guerrero’s header which was half-cleared by Mert Günok, only as far as Semedo who prodded the ball home with glee.
The visitors responded well though and on 66 minutes Olympiacos goalkeeper Jose Sa produced a great save to deny Júnior Caiçara as the Turks pressed for an equalising goal.
Demba Ba then missed a great chance to level matters for Basaksehir on 74 minutes but the former Newcastle and Chelsea striker missed the target completely when he should really have done better.
The visitors were then made to pay for that miss when Olympiacos were handed the chance to make it 2-0 after 77 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Vieira (İstanbul Başakşehir) fouled Ranđelović (Olympiacos).
Mathieu Valbuena stepped up to stroke home the spot-kick, sending Basaksehir goalkeeper Mert Günok the wrong way.
Olympiacos: 1 José Sá (GK), 3 Ruben Semedo, 5 Bouchalakis, 8 Guilherme, 9 Guerrero, 10 Daniel Podence, 14 Elabdellaoui ©, 19 Masouras, 20 Meriah, 21 Tsimikas, 28 Valbuena
Basaksehir: 34 Mert Günok (GK), 3 Clichy, 4 Attamah, 7 Višća ©, 11 Elia, 24 Vieira, 26 dos Santos Rodrigues, 27 Crivell, 44 Azubuike, 70 Robinho, 80 Júnior Caiçara
HIGHLIGHTS: OLYMPIACOS - BASAKSEHIR