Olympiacos have made it through to the third round of the UEFA Champions League qualifiers, after a dominant 4-0 win against Czech side Viktoria Plzen at the Georgios Karaiskakis.
The red-and-whites maintained a high percentage of possession throughout the encounter and were able to create several opportunities in front of goal, yet were unable to make the most of them until early in second half.
Manager Pedro Martins entrusted the same players that he selected in the first game to finish the job, with the exception of Yassin Meriah who was chosen to replace the injured former Brisbane Roar defender Avraam Papadopoulos. His men came out of the dressing rooms guns blazing and they had their first great opportunity to open the score just after two minutes of play. A corner kick from Valbuena landed on the feet of Guillherme, with the Brazilian sending the ball to bounce off the post.
After that, it was just a series of wasted chances for the home side, with the visitors being reduced to simply clearing the ball out of their own danger zone.
Yet despite all their possession and opportunities, the half time whistle found the two teams level with no goals between them.
Had this result remained until the end of 90 minutes, it would mean they would need to go to extra time or even a penalty shoot out to see who would make it through. But the red-and-whites were determined not to let things go that far.
They came out showing the same, calm minds and with the same discipline and on the 51st minute their efforts were rewarded.
A corner kick by Valbuena found the head of Guillherme and this time, the midfielder made no mistake, putting the ball passed Pavel Hruska for the first time in the encounter.
Yet it would be far from the last, as it seemed this was the goal the Olympiacos players were looking for to loosen their feet.
The second came on the 69th, when Guerrero carried the ball into the area, dribbling past his defender and placing it calmly in the back of the net.
Just four minutes later, the home side found their third from yet another corner kick that bounced off Reznik to end up in the back of his own team’s goal.
The final score was written by Ruben Semedo, who capitalised on a loose ball in Plzen’s defence after a shot by Meriah. The final whistle saw the crowd go wild, chanting the players names, while coach Martins already has his minds set on the encounter of the third round against Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir.
The two games will be played on 7 August and 13 August, with the first game being held in Istanbul and the second leg at the Georgios Karaiskakis.
THE OLYMPIACOS LINE-UP (Pedro Martins): Jose Sa, Elabdellaoui, Tsimikas, Semedo, Meriah, Guillherme, Bouchalakis, Masouras, Podence (85′ Radjelovic), Valbuena (66′ Kamara), Guerrero (80′ El-Arabi)