In the first leg for the round of 16 of the Europa League, Olympiacos drew 1-1 with the Wolverhampton Wanderers at the empty Georgios Karaiskakis stadium.
The atmosphere at the stadium was cold, in a night that was meant to be a celebration of football for Greek fans, after their huge success against Arsenal a couple of weeks ago.
However, coronavirus fears prompted UEFA to keep spectators out of stadiums for the time being, with the entire season now put at risk.
The game was played in an empty stadium, but that didn’t deter the players of the Greek club from holding on to possession of the ball from the start of the game and not giving their opponents much room to breath. But things took a sharp turn in the game’s balance at the 28th minute mark, when Wolves winger Diogo Jota tried to break free of Ruben Semedo, with the Portuguese catching the feet of his compatriot.
French referee Clement Thurpain showed an arguably strict red card to the 25-year-old, sending him for an early shower and leaving Olympiacos with a player down.
Pedro Martins immediately replaced Giorgos Masouras with Pape Abbou Cisse in order to bolster his back line and even though his team was forced to give up possession, they never felt much of a threat from the away team, with the first half inevitably ending goalless.
At the start of the second, the Olympiacos players used their individual quality to punish the arrogance of the British team, who had all but given up on defending in order to capitalise on their advantage.
And after a wonderful effort by Mady Camara, Gulliherme and Youssef El Arabi on the 54th minute, the Brazilian found himself with space inside the area and serves a wonderful ball to the Moroccan who opened the score for his team.
This was the third Premier league side El Arabi has scored against in the season, after Tottenham and Arsenal. But it was not meant to last as a free kick just outside the box allowed Wolves to equalise on the 67th minute, with Neto sending the ball to bounce off Andreas Bouchalakis with a helpless Jose Sa watching as the ball went into the back of his net.
Despite many attacking techniques from Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, not much else changed in the game and although the draw gives Wolves the advantage for the return game in England, the final whistle left Olympiacos feeling confident of pulling an upset similar to the one against Arsenal no less than a fortnight ago.
That is, if the game even takes place, considering everything that’s going on in the world right now.