Olympiacos has taken a leap toward another campaign at the group stage of the Champions League, beating Omonia Nicosia 2-0 in the first leg of the competition’s playoffs on Wednesday in Piraeus.
After more than an hour of frustration, Olympiacos managed to find the way through the Omonia defense, first via a penalty and then courtesy of a beautiful strike by last season’s top scorer Yussef El-Arabi.
The tight defense of the Cypriot team coached by Henning Berg had Olympiacos pegged at a goalless draw up to the 69th minute at the quiet Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.
However, the introduction of Lazar Randjelovic and El-Arabi on the 58th minute did the trick for Olympiacos coach Pedro Martins. Ten minutes later, Randjelovic forced Omonia to commit a handball in the area, and Mathieu Valbuena converted the penalty for 1-0.
The Reds kept pushing, but the second goal would not come until the second minute of time added on, when Andreas Bouchalakis found El-Arabi and he buried the ball into the left-hand corner of the Omonia goal.
The second leg will take place in Nicosia next week.