Olympiacos 1-2 Anderlecht (agg: 1-3, aet)
Ghanaian winger Frank Acheampong struck twice in extra time as the Belgian side's nerve held on a tense night in Piraeus.
Top-Medien-Inhalte des Artikels
- Kostas Fortounis's coolly taken penalty gives Olympiacos momentum
- Alan Pulido goes close for Olympiacos and Anderlecht hit post in second half
- Frank Acheampong on target twice as Belgian side win match in extra time
- Apply for tickets for UEFA Europa League final at Basel's St. Jakob-Park
- Round of 16 draw takes place on Friday, streamed live from 13.00CET
Forward Frank Acheampong was the hero of the hour for Anderlecht, scoring twice in extra time to block Olympiacos's path to the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
Trailing 1-0 from the opening instalment in Brussels, the Greek champions were back on terms by half-time. First-leg scorer Serigne Mbodji was penalised for handling in the box, enabling Kostas Fortounis to send Silvio Proto the wrong way with the resulting penalty. The home crowd roared their favourites on, but as Anderlecht got to grips with Olympiacos's wing play the game lost its shape a little.
With both Proto and opposite number Roberto kept busy throughout, was guilty of missing a fine, Alejandro Domínguez-authored opportunity for Olympiacos as the hour-mark approached. Andy Najar then struck the post for Anderlecht not long afterwards and, with home coach Marco Silva having to withdraw Jimmy Durmaz and Esteban Cambiasso, the Belgian team may have sensed the tide turning in their direction.
None the less, following Proto's stop from Sebá, it took extra time for them to finally win the tie. Olympiacos may have looked momentarily refreshed, but Acheampong's fine finish from a tight angle dealt them a fierce blow at the end of the first additional period. Najar then sent the 22-year-old racing through to net his second of the night, Acheampong's composure – and Olympiacos's tiring legs – combining to put Besnik Hasi's men into Friday's draw.
He might have sealed Anderlecht's qualification in the 88th minute when Roberto denied him with a brilliant save. However, the Ghanaian international was not discouraged and his luck changed emphatically in extra time. First he found the target with a delicious drive from an acute angle, then he rounded off a counterattack with a fine finish that gave Anderlecht their two-goal aggregate cushion.
It is safe to say this match would not have gone the distance, nor end on a happy note for the guests, were it not for the heroics of Anderlecht captain Proto. The 32-year-old inspired his side with three crucial early stops from Ideye Brown, Fortounis and Durmaz while the rest of his team were caught napping. He never let his guard down in 120 minutes and was only beaten from the spot.
Where it went wrong for Olympiacos
Olympiacos gave everything in the first half, chasing the goals that would have settled the tie in their favour. Come the hour, however, it was clear that their inability to add to Fortounis's opener could cost them physically and mentally. Despite having both playmakers on the pitch in Domínguez and Fortounis, they were devoid of ideas and ended up paying dearly.
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