Bordeaux secure narrow advantage over Olympiakos

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

laurent blanc

Olympiakos 0-1 Bordeaux

Laurent Blanc’s Bordeaux have been tipped as one of this year’s dark horses in the Champions League. Prior to kick-off they were widely predicted to overcome the limited threat of Olympiakos over two legs.

With Blanc’s side boasting an impressive record away from home in Europe it easy to see why they are firm favourites to progress into the next round.

During the group stages they claimed a famous victory at the Allianz Arena against Bayern Munich, held Juventus in Turin and remained unbeaten as their second string disposed of Maccabi Haifa.

However a trip to the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium has left many able teams quivering in the past. The piercing noise from the home supporters ensures a boisterous atmosphere within the stadium.

Former Newcastle and Portsmouth striker, Lomana LuaLua, led the line for the Greeks. But it was evident from the start that the home side were going to pose little threat in attack, provided the watertight Bordeaux rearguard remained firm.

The Greeks played some accomplished football at times in the centre of the park but lacked a decisive run or a telling pass in their quest for a goal. The French side rarely looked under any threat and highlighted why they have only conceded on 19 occasions domestically this season.

Deep into injury time in the first half Howard Webb awarded a free kick in a dangerous area for the French visitors. Chamakh launched an enticing ball into the box which bamboozled the hesitant Nikopolidis.

Michael Siane intercepted the flight of the ball and sent a thumping header crashing into the vacated net to nudge the visitors into the lead with a vital away goal.

It failed to mute the raucous Olympiakos crowd who persevered with their impressive support.

Bordeaux emerged from the dressing room in a decidedly confident frame of mind. Cue some stylish football orchestrated by the instrumental Yoann Gourcuff.

It was Laurent Blanc’s side that looked like the team playing at home. At times they were irresistible with some lovely interplay between Arsenal target Chamakh and Gourcuff — who threatened to unlock the Greek defence on several occasions.

The French champions wasted some wonderful opportunities as they failed to further compound misery on Olympiakos, much to the frustration of Blanc.

And the away team were almost made to pay for their lack of composure.

Olympiakos left back, Raul Bravo, whipped in a delicious ball that presented Maresca with a clear sight of goal, but the Italian blazed his header over the crossbar much to the anguish of the animated home supporters.

Then Lomana LuaLua had an effort well saved by the Bordeaux goalkeeper Cédric Carrasso. Despite the heroics of the 28-year-old stopper, the Congo international should have restored parity when he found himself one-on-one with Carrasso.

The Greeks introduced Englishman Matt Derbyshire in search of an equaliser and continued to apply pressure deep into the remaining moments of the match. From a corner, LuaLua’s header was cleared off the line by some last-ditch defending by les Girondins.

In the 93rd minute and from another set piece, Lua Lua directed his headed effort at the chest of Carrasso. The ensuing play saw the ball finally land in the Bordeaux net only for Webb to disallow the goal after Derbyshire was adjudged to have fouled Carrasso.

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