Olympiakos is on the back foot after suffering a 1-0 defeat to FC Girondins de Bordeaux in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final in Athens.

Michael Ciani’s header in first-half added time earned the French side a narrow but vital victory though a late flurry by Olympiakos almost restored parity for the home side.

Laurent Blanc’s team, who collected the most points of the 32 teams in the group stage, continued their impressive form in the competition by soaking up long spells of home pressure and snatching the win with Ciani’s third goal of the season two minutes into added time at the end of the first period.

Bordeaux twice reached the last eight of the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in the 1980s, and will be optimistic of completing the job in the return leg at the Stade Chaban-Delmas on March 17.

Olympiakos had booked their place in the last 16 by finishing second in Group H thanks largely to their home form and, roared on by a typically passionate crowd, were quick to press for a seventh UEFA Champions League victory in as many matches in Piraeus this season.

Olof Mellberg threatened first, heading Jesus Alberto Datolo’s right-wing free-kick just wide after four minutes.

Olympiakos wingers Datolo and Lomana LuaLua saw plenty of possession in the early exchanges and both men had Bordeaux on the back foot with their pace and trickery.

Although the visitors had little opportunity to display their attacking prowess – Fernando’s fierce long-range drive drawing the first save from Antonis Nikopoldis in the home goal after 26 minutes – Olympiakos had no such problems, thoroughly testing a Bordeaux defence that conceded just twice in the group stage.

Cedric Carrasso tipped an Ieroklis Stoltidis header over his crossbar and, just as it seemed the home team could be satisfied with their first-half display, the French champions struck seconds before half-time.

Again it was a set-piece goal, Yoann Gourcuff delivering a free-kick from the left and Ciani muscling ahead of the home defence to nod in.

Gourcuff had another free-kick opportunity at the start of the second half but this time the wall blocked his kick, before Ciani got on the end of a corner only to head too high his time.

Olympiakos, however, missed a golden opportunity to level just before the hour when Enzo Maresca met Raul Bravo’s cross and firmly but inaccurately headed over Carrasso’s crossbar.

That proved a rare opening for the home team, who struggled to penetrate the Bordeaux defence despite Bozidar Bandovic replacing defensive midfielder Cristian Ledesma with winger Jaouad Zairi in an attempt to add impetus to his attack.

With 14 minutes left, the Olympiakos coach threw on Matt Derbyshire, who made an instant impression with a neat lay-off for LuaLua to unleash a low shot that was brilliantly kept out by Carrasso.

The Bordeaux goalkeeper then tipped over another effort from the Congolese striker, although from the resulting corner he was grateful for Benoit Tremoulinas clearing Vassilis Torosidis’s effort off the goalline.

There was still time for Carrasso to deny LuaLua again, the goalkeeper’s instinctive block repelling another close-range header to preserve Bordeaux’s advantage.

From the resulting corner, Lua Lua’s close-range header was saved and when the ball came back in the box, Enzo Maresca headed in but referee Howard Webb had already blown for a foul.

Derbyshire argued that he was the one who had been fouled but the referee was adamant there had been a push.

Undeterred, defender Avraam Papdopoulos indicated his side had hopes ahead of the return leg.

“We can turn this result around because we have lots of quality in the team,” said Papadopoulos.