Olympiacos vs. Montpellier: Final score 3-1, Olympiacos give themselves hope with win

Milos Bicanski

Olympiacos have given themselves some hope of qualifying for the knockout rounds of the 2012 Champions League by dispatching Montpellier with a pair of late goals. Having already beaten these opponents in France, they knew a win would see them back within theoretical touching distance of Arsenal, and Leandro Greco's 81st-minute winner means that they did just that.

The hosts were always in charge of the match, and they went ahead early via a goal from Paulo Machado. He didn't do much of the work, though -- said goal was presented on a platter for him after the work of Djamel Abdoun and Konstantinos Mitroglou, the latter smashing a shot off the near post after Abdoun swung in a wonderful low cross. The rebound fell straight to Machado, who stuck the ball straight into the empty net for a 1-0 lead.

It took Montpellier a full hour to regroup, but the defending Ligue 1 champions eventually drew level. Francois Modesto was the culprit, as far as Olympiacos were concerned, the defender having seen fit to wrestle Souleymane Camara to the ground in the penalty area, giving up a spot kick in the process. The otherwise quiet Younes Belhanda stepped up, slotting past Roy Carroll with a precise effort despite the goalkeeper guessing the right way.

But the equaliser only serve to invigourate the hosts, who pressed forward almost immediately and were given the reward their play deserved when a poor clearance from Belhanda presented Greco with a chance to reestablish the lead. The Italian cleverly diverted the ball past a wrong-footed Geoffrey Jourdren to make it 2-1. It was 3-1 moments later after a lovely finish from Mitroglou, who fired home after being fed with a neat delivery by left back Jose Holebas.

That marked the end of the match as a sporting contest. It devolved instead into something far less savory, with Montpellier, who've been all but guaranteed last place in the group, in the mood to draw blood rather than play football. Fortunately, nobody was too badly hurt.

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