- Its a Start... -
europa league - playoff qualifying round, leg 1
|Arouca||0 - 1||Olympiacos|
A mediocre Olympiacos (better in the first half) came away with a 0-1 victory against Arouca in Portugal for the first leg of the Europa League Playoff Qualifying Round. The win puts Olympiacos in the driver's seat to qualify for the Group Stage of the competition before next week's second leg in Greece. The only goal of the game came from Seba midway through the first half.
Olympiacos took control of the match early on as Arouca sat back and "waited" for the Greek Champions. The Erythrolefki kept the possession and pressed in Arouca's penalty area with Seba and Ideye wasting chances to open the score. The breakthrough came in the 27th minute when a brilliant pass from Cambiasso found Pardo, who played a great ball to Seba and his well-placed tap-in gave Olympiacos 0-1 lead. After a good showing in the first half, Olympiacos took their 0-1 lead into the break.
Arouca became more of a threat in the second half as Olympiacos failed to create opportunities to score. Arouca came close to an equalizer with Gonzalez's solo effort (passed Botia, Figueiras, da Costa) leaving him one-one-one with Kapino, but Olympiacos' keeper kept the hosts off the board. Olympiacos responded with a chance of their own with Cambiasso missing the target from Seba's pinpoint cross. Arouca pressed for the equalizer with their final chance coming from a free-kick where Kapino once again denied the hots. The final whistle came with a sigh of relief for the Greek Champions, giving them the clear advantage before next week's match in Greece.
The win will restore some confidence in the team after their disappointing elimination to Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Champions League Qualifying. Additionally, it buys them more time as they continue to "rebuild" their new team for the upcoming SuperLeague and Europa League season. Olympiacos will host Arouca next Thursday to confirm their place in the Europa League Group Stage.