Olympiakos keep knockout hopes alive
ATHENS, Nov 6, 2012 (AFP) - Greek side Olympiakos kept alive their chances of reaching the Champions League knockout stage here on Tuesday with a deserved 3-1 win over French champions Montpellier.
Goals from Paulo Machado - only his second for the club - Leandro Greco and Kostas Mitroglu eased them to victory even if Younes Belhanda had briefly got the visitors back into the game as he levelled with a penalty.
Victory takes Olympiakos onto six points, two behind leaders Schalke and one adrift of second-placed Arsenal, while Montpellier are out of contention on one point with two games remaining.
The visitors had been dealt an early blow as Olympiakos broke the deadlock with a finely worked goal in the fourth minute.
Greco outfoxed his Montpellier opponent, got into the box and set up Mitroglu, who should have done better than see his shot come off the post with goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren beaten.
However, to his relief Machado was lurking and he knocked in the rebound.
Jourdren did well seven minutes later to keep his side in the game as he got down to block a fierce effort from the lively Mitroglu.
His save appeared to spark his team-mates into life and they dominated for the next 20 minutes but only troubled Roy Carroll once, a Souleymane Camara header going just over the bar.
However, they drew level in the 66th minute after Dimitris Siovas felled Camara the box and although Carroll dived the right way Belhanda's penalty crept under him.
Olympiakos, though, struck back and scored twice in three minutes to seal the points.
The impressive Greco swept the ball home in the 80th minute after a Montpellier defender had inadvertently headed the ball out to him at the edge of the box, and then the equally impressive Mitroglu netted his third goal in four matches of this season's tournament with a neatly taken volley.