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UEFA Champions League
February 25, 2014
• Stadio Georgios Karaiskáki, Pireás (Piraeus)
Referee: G. Rocchi
• Attendance: 29815
A. Domínguez 38'
J. Campbell 55'
Well, thanks a lot for joining me this evening for what was a fascinating game. My name is Tom Webber and it has been an absolute pleasure to be your host.
FULL TIME - Olympiakos 2-0 Manchester United: Goals in either half from Dominguez and Campbell give the Greeks a completely deserved first-leg victory. The Red Devils were awful on the night, and have left themselves with a big task at Old Trafford in the second leg following their first Champions League defeat this season.
90' + 4'
Young sends the cross into the box but Vidic cannot steer his effort towards goal and the referee blows for full time.
90' + 3'
Olympiakos manage to get the ball down to the corner flag but they cannot keep it in play and United may have one more chance to attack.
90' + 1'
Safe hands from Roberto! Kagawa initiates a move to carry the ball from right to left. He sends Evra down to the byeline but the Frenchman's cross takes a deflection and loops into the air. Welbeck leaps to challenge Roberto but the Spaniard plucks it down with a sure pair of gloves on it.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional three minutes.
Yellow Card Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand lets the ball get away from him and Fuster steals in to poke it away from him. The centre-back gets some of the ball but takes all of the man and earns a booking for the challenge.
Evra and Welbeck combine well down the left and the latter pokes a pass forward for Van Persie. The Dutchman swings a foot at the ball and manages to connect but he does not hit it true enough to worry Roberto.
Olympiakos look set to end United's undefeated record against Greek opposition and extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 20 games. If they can hold onto this they will be confident ahead of their visit to Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have looked more dangerous in the last five minutes than they have throughout the whole of the previous 80. Have they left it too late to find an ever-valuable away goal?
WHAT A MISS! Smalling picks out Van Persie in space and the Dutchman beats Manolas with his first touch. He has plenty of time to guide a finish past Roberto but instead he blazes a shot high over the top of the goal. You would have bet your house on that going in.
Young drills in a great cross from the right, which is the first time I've said that this evening, but Van Persie is beaten to it by Roberto who dives out and punches the ball away from the area.
Olaitan feeds Perez with a clever touch on the edge of the box but the Paraguayan is closed down by Welbeck, who is back to help out defensively.
Machado sends in a corner to the edge of the box but Olympiakos are unable to fashion a shooting opportunity before Young hacks it out of the danger area. Thrylos regain possession, though, and look to build again.
Whistles are beginning to ring out around the stadium whenever United enjoy a prolonged spell in possession again. There are still too many sloppy passes slipping in needlessly, though.
The introduction of Kagawa and Welbeck has failed to have the desired impact for the Red Devils. They still lack urgency, creativity and a clinical edge in the final third. Subsequently, it looks as though Hernandez will be entering the fray momentarily.
Holebas shows a good turn of pace to burn past Smalling down the outside but his cross is far too deep and goes behind for a goal kick. The left-back has not been short of confidence this evening that is for sure.
United have had 55 per cent possession this evening but have only mustered one shot on target. Roberto has had a fairly easy evening between the sticks when he may have expected to be kept busy.
Just over 20 minutes remain for the Red Devils to salvage something from this evening. As things stand, it wouldn't leave them with an impossible task in the second leg at Old Trafford, but it is certainly not how they would have hoped to go into the game.
SO CLOSE! Campbell picks out Olaitan in the box with a cross from the right and the Nigerian smashes a thunderous effort at goal. De Gea is rooted to the spot but can breathe a sigh of relief as the shot arrows narrowly wide of the goal.
The Red Devils fail to deal with a cross from Holebas and it falls to Maniatis 25 yards from goal. He lashes a shot towards De Gea's net but it skids wide of the target without worrying the Spaniard.
Michel's men do not look fazed by their lead here. They are still pressing United quickly and remaining composed when in possession themselves. They cannot rest on their laurels, though, or they may risk conceding an away goal.
Evra bombs forward impressively and slips a great pass into Welbeck but the England international made his run too early and is adjudged offside.
Vidic clips a hopeful ball down the left towards Young but Manolas does a good job to shepherd it out of play for a goal kick. It does allow for Moyes to make his changes, though, with Kagawa and Welbeck coming on for Cleverley and Valencia.
Moyes looks to be readying Kagawa and Welbeck down on the touchline. The potential for some more creativity and pace is certainly there.
Whatever David Moyes said at half time clearly hasn't done the trick. The Greeks are still playing the more intense football with the visitors laking any sort of coherency.
Assist Michael Olaitan
Goal J. Campbell
GOOOOOOOOAAL! UNBELIEVABLE! A truly stunning second goal for Olympiakos as Arsenal loanee Campbell passes the ball between the legs of Carrick before curling a precise finish into the bottom corner, past the despairing De Gea. United in real trouble here.
Maniatis clips a lovely pass over the top for Perez, who makes a run into the centre of the box. The delivery is too high for him, though, and De Gea is able to mop up at the back.
Cleverly shows a good turn of pace to spin away from N'Dinga on the right and he whips an equally impressive delivery into the box. Van Persie is the only United man in there and he is beaten to the ball by Manolas, who once more heads to safety.
Smalling spots the run of Cleverley through the centre of the park but his pass is dealt with by Marcano with absolutely no problems. United still lacking intensity and confidence in this second half.
STAT: Olympiakos are seeking a first appearance in the Champions League quarter-finals since the 1999-2000 edition of the competition.
The Red Devils have picked up where they left off in the first half, with a couple of misplaced passes already in the opening minutes of the second period. Cleverley is caught in possession this time but is let off the hook as Perez slips when striking from 25 yards and fails to stretch De Gea.
The second half is underway!
Welcome back! There are just a few minutes until the second half. Can the Red Devils improve upon their first half performance and find a route back into this game?
Not for the first time this season David Moyes faces a difficult half-time team talk. United have lacked substance this evening and have played at a rather slow tempo. Olympiakos have by no means dictated this match, so all is not yet lost. Join me in 10 minutes for the second half.
HALF TIME - Olympiakos 1-0 Manchester United: The Greeks have shown a greater intensity in the first half and that has enabled them to create the better chances of the game. The Red Devils have lacked ingenuity, and it is an example of such a trait that sees the hosts go in ahead following Dominguez's clever flick to open the scoring.
45' + 1'
The half-time whistle goes!
45' + 1'
Evra sends a cross into the area from left but he puts too much elevation on it and so Roberto vacates his line to pluck it down unchallenged.
There is just one minute of added time to be played at the end of this half.
A neat short corner routine from the Red Devils nearly creates a chance for Rooney to test Roberto, but Maniatis races across and flings his body in the way of the shot. That's dedication.
Van Persie is up and looks set to continue playing having received some treatment from the medical team. It looked like he took a blow to the head from the keeper's shoulder as he came to claim the cross.
CLOSE! Rooney flights a great delivery into the box but Manolas heads it over the bar. In his attempts to get on the end of it, Van Persie collided with Roberto and is flat out in the penalty area. Hopefully it's nothing serious.
Evra wins a free kick as he is hacked to ground by a poor challenge from N'Dinga. Rooney will whip this in from the left. Can United reply instantly?
Assist Giannis Maniatis
Goal Alejandro Domínguez
GOOOOOOOOAL!! Olympiakos take the lead! A deflected cross falls to Maniatis 25 yards from goal and his low shot receives a flick from Dominguez which directs it away from De Gea and into the bottom corner. United pay for not creating enough with their possession.
United win possession inside their half and break at pace. Play is sent out to Young on the left and he cuts onto his left foot but curls a cross into the arms of Roberto.
That is a decent spell for Olympiakos after Olaitan showed great strength to win a long ball. The pressure culminates in Holebas loosing an effort from distance but it trickles wide of De Gea's goal, with the Spaniard simply walking across his goal in preparation for the goal kick.
Former United goalkeeper Roy Carroll is currently on the books of Olympiakos, but he will not feature in the tie as he has not been registered in the Champions League squad.
Vidic ploughs through the back of Dominguez as the pair look to challenge for a header and the Argentine dives to ground holding his head. The referee is not convinced, and actually awards the Red Devils the free kick.
Rooney was credited with six assists in the group stage, more than any other player in the competition. However, tonight he is playing far too deep to be able to create any meaningful opportunities for the visitors.
Holebas pushes high for the first time this evening but Valencia nicks the ball off of his foot. Rooney picks up the loose ball and wins a free kick as he attempts to hold off the robust challenge from Maniatis behind him.
JUST WIDE! Perez cuts inside of Smalling onto his right foot and drills a low shot towards De Gea's near post. The Spaniard dives down to his right but allows the shot to hit the side netting of his goal.
Dominguez shows that he is a threat again as he skips powers past Cleverley before finding Olaitan. The Nigerian takes the ball wide but has to check back and the momentum in the attack is lost.
Rooney and Van Persie combine for the first time this evening with a give-and-go but Manolas tracks the Dutchman's return pass and slides it out for a throw in.
Maniatis plumps for goal from about 20 yards but his tame effort bounces comfortably into the hands of De Gea. This match is fairly delicately poised, and you sense the first goal could be very important in determining the outcome of the game.
United are starting to find some momentum here, with Valencia beating Holebas for pace down to the byeline but his drilled cross flies out for a goal kick on the far side.
Vidic has been brilliant so far. Once more he reads the play superbly and steps in to stop Campbell's pass into the box from finding Olaitan. It brings the Thrylos attack to an end, and once more the whistles from the home fans set in.
OVER THE TOP! Olympiakos fail to deal with a corner and it eventually falls for Cleverley, but he slices his effort high of the goal.
That is good vision from Young, but his execution of a reverse pass into Van Persie's diagonal run across the box is not accurate enough and the ball runs out for a goal kick.
Olympiakos eventually regain possession as Evra's pass down the line is cut out by Salino. He slips a pass to N'Dinga who then tries to find Olaitan up top, but Vidic is first to it again and sends possession all the way back to De Gea.
Rooney drops back alongside Carrick in an attempt to inject some momentum to his team, but the options don't appear to be there at the other end of the pitch.
Ferdinand moves into space on the half-way line but both Young and Valencia turn and run into similar areas. The centre-back still attempts the long ball but Marcano gets his head to it to nod it away from the danger area.
United mount their first real attack of the night, with Van Persie spreading the play to Young on the left who in turn feeds Evra on the overlap. The Frenchman's cross into the middle is dealt with by Manolas, though. Still, that is an improvement from Moyes' men.
WHAT A BLOCK!! Smalling is caught on the ball once more by Perez and he feeds Dominguez. The Argentine skips past three United players on his way into the box but as pokes an effort towards the bottom corner, Vidic slides in to make a crucial interception. Top defending from the Serbian.
The stadium is a cacophony of whistles as soon as United get possession. Ferdinand seems shaken as he sells Smalling short with pass and Perez pounces. He centres the ball but Olympiakos are unable to get a shot away to test De Gea.
The hosts are starting to settle on the ball now, with N'Dinga continually making himself available for the ball and directing the play into space. Eventually they lose it and a foul on Valencia sees the referee award the Red Devils a free kick in their own half.
Yellow Card Patrice Evra
Not the prettiest of starts to the game, but Olympiakos are putting the visitors under plenty of pressure and forcing them to make snap decisions. Evra picks up an early booking following a handball on the far side. He will have to be careful for the rest of the evening.
Olympiakos get the ball rolling!
The pre-match formalities are all but over now, so the match will get underway momentarily.
Just five minutes to go until kick off and there is a typically impressive atmosphere at Georgios Kariaskakis Stadium. However, there is a partial stadium closure due to racist conduct of supporters, insufficient organisation, the setting off of fireworks, and the use of a laser during Olympiakos' matchday six win over Anderlecht.
But Olympiakos must not be underestimated. Since Michel took the reins in February last year they have not lost a domestic game and are currently on a 19-match unbeaten run in all competitions. There is plenty of momentum with the hosts, then, so United will surely call upon their more experienced players for cool heads tonight.
The Red Devils are undefeated on their European travels so far this season, having drawn at Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Sociedad and thumped Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 in the group stages.
Manchester United have never lost against Greek opposition, winning on eight out of the 10 times they have come up against opposition from the Hellenic nation. However, Olympiakos have been victorious in their last three home encounters with Premier League opposition – all against Arsenal.
David Moyes makes three changes to the side that defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 at the weekend. Cup-tied Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj are not in the squad while Marouane Fellaini drops to the bench. In their place come Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley. Jonny Evans and Phil Jones have not travelled to Piraeus due to injury.
Following the sale of Kostas Mitroglou to Fulham and an injury to Javier Saviola in the 4-0 win over OFI Crete at the weekend, Michael Olaitan leads the line for Olympiakos with Nelson Valdez on the bench. Giannis Maniatis returns to the side after serving a ban on matchday six.
Manchester United substitutes: Lindegaard, Buttner, Giggs, Fellaini, Kagawa, Hernandez, Welbeck.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Cleverley, Carrick; Valencia, Rooney, Young; Van Persie.
Olympiakos substitutes: Megyeri, Papadopoulos, Machado, Samaris, Bong, Fuster, Valdez.
Olympiakos (4-2-3-1): Roberto; Salino, Manolas, Marcano, Holebas; Maniatis, N’Dinga; Campbell, Dominguez, Perez; Olaitan.
United have won all four of the past meetings between these two clubs. They came during the group stages of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 Champions League editions. Ryan Giggs played a role in every one of those games, scoring three goals in the process. Tonight, though, he only makes the substitutes bench. Full line-ups coming up.
Hello and welcome to tonight's LIVE play-by-play commentary as Olympiakos host Manchester United in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. The Greeks only secured their place in the knockout stages over Benfica on the head-to-head rule, while the Red Devils coasted through unbeaten to top Group A. The English side will therefore fancy their chances, but Thrylos will surely give it their all. My name is Tom Webber, and I will be guiding you through the game tonight.
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