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Olympiacos 0-1 Bordeaux: Les Girondins Take First Leg Advantage In Hard-Fought Encounter


Michael Ciani gave Bordeaux the all important away-goal as the French champions edged their Greek counterparts in Piraeus.

Laurent Blanc’s side were organised at both ends of the pitch as the visiting contingent silenced the Karaiskaki crowd and claimed a vital win ahead of the replay next month in France.

Ciani's header just before half-time proved to be the difference, despite a valiant performance from Olympiacos’ Lomana Lua Lua.

It was the visitors who started the match off the more creative of the two sides as they looked to silence the home crowd early on. An organised Olympiacos, however, stymied Bordeaux’s early progress as the best the French champions could offer was an aimless cross from Jaroslav Plasil.

The Greeks were a little more strategic with their offensive opportunities through ten minutes as the home side settled for set pieces and counter-attacks in the early going. Nevertheless, Olof Mellberg came inches from putting Bozidar Bandovic’s men in front on four minutes as the Swede headed Jesus Datolo’s in-swinging cross just wide.

Fancy footwork from Konstantinos Mitroglou kept Bordeaux’s backline on its toes as the Greek striker nimbly worked his way through his markers, only to lose control of the ball at the very end of his journey.

As the first half wore on, it was clear Olympiacos was keen on keeping a high-tempo to the match. Meanwhile, Bordeaux looked to dictate the tempo themselves; the travelling side playing at a less pace than the Erythrolefki.

Two contrasting styles of football set up a physical encounter near the half-way mark of the first frame, with knocks to Vasilis Torosidis and Ciani requiring treatment.

There were still scoring chances for both sides with Bordeaux snagging the match’s first on-target attempt when Fernando forced ‘keeper Antonis Nikopolidis into his first save of the evening.

Cedric Carrasso’s first call to duty came just moments later as Enzo Maresca came agonisingly close to beating the French shot-stopper; however, the Italian’s aerial effort was tipped over the crossbar.

At the other end, a controversial call by referee Howard Webb led to the match’s breakthrough seconds before the interval. Ciani was the first to react to Yoann Gourcuff’s free-kick as he provided a headed finish past Nikopolidis from well inside the six-yard box.

Flattened by the late goal, Olympiacos looked restore parity in Piraeus early in the second half. It was Bordeaux, however, who threatened for a second as a free-kick from the edge of the Olympiacos box was in prime position for the French side to extend their lead. Despite his regular eye for goal, Wendel was unable to convert the opportunity as his effort slammed into the four-man wall.

A lapse in defence allowed for Wendel to have another chance at goal moments later, but a late-arriving Ieroklis Stoltidis blocked the effort just in time to concede a corner. The ensuing corner-kick also produced a chance with Ciani looking to cement a rare brace, but this time his header sailed wide of Nikopolidis’ net.

It wasn’t until thirteen minutes after the restart that Olympiacos displayed some promise, but Raul Bravo’s cross was well wasted by Maresca, whose diving header soared over Carrasso’s goal.

With their supporters’ faces looking glum, Olympiacos’ lack of creativity on the ball prompted manager Bozidar Bandovic to reinforce the home side’s attack as Jaouad Zairi and Matt Derbyshire were introduced as late substitutions – the latter making his career debut in the Champions League.

Bordeaux remained the more fluent side in attack and came very close to striking a dagger when Matthieu Chalme’s run inside the Olympiacos box ended with Wendel scuffing an effort wide.



A quick turnaround by Nikopolidis allowed Derbyshire to find Lua Lua with plenty of space at the edge of the visitors’ box, but the former Newcastle man couldn’t sneak a finish inside Carrasso’s far post.

Another chance for Lua Lua, this one a little more optimistic, forced Carrasso into an easy save on eighty-six minutes. The French goalkeeper’s task was much more demanding moments later when he was forced to tip Lua Lua’s header over the crossbar.

The French ‘keeper had is defenders to thank on the ensuing corner as Torosidis’ header was cleared off the line, and the follow-up effort sent trickling past the upright.

Nevertheless, it was Carrasso who preserved his side’s clean sheet as he produced a miraculous save to deny Lua Lua on the goal-line to keep his goal pure.

The crowd erupted seconds later as Derbyshire turned the ball in, but the goal was overruled when the English striker was charged with infringement despite protests from the home side.