Greek champion Olympiakos, playing its first match under caretaker coach Vassilis Vouzas, drew 1-1 against visiting Turkish champion Besiktas, in Piraeus, on Thursday evening in their first leg, round of 16, Europa League tie.
The home team, playing in front of a Greek only crowd, started the better of the teams and opened the scoring in the 36th minute when veteran Argentine midfielder Esteban Cambiasso’s header found the net. The Greek champion was able to hold on to its lead till half time without too much threat from the opposition.
However, Besiktas came out on the front foot in the second half and Talisca almost equalized with his header narrowly flying over the cross bar. Minutes later, a poor clearance by Olympiakos keeper Leali, gifted the ball to Besiktas striker Aboubakar, whose score a precious away goal for Besiktas in the 53rd minute. Whilst Leali’s poor clearance gave Besiktas a huge advantage, the Olympiakos keeper went some way to atoning for his error, with a save to deny Besiktas adding a second through Quaresma in a one on one with the keeper.
The Turkish side finished the stronger and takes the momentum of the draw and away goal into the second leg in Istanbul in a week’s time.
Olympiakos coach Vouzas commented after the match, “I want to congratulate my players for their huge effort. We controlled the game, but conceded a goal out of nowhere. In the end we managed to gather ourselves and got this draw.”
In other Europa League action in Cyprus, Apoel fell 1-0 at home to Belgium’s Anderlecht thanks to a 29th minute goal to Chipciu.