Olympique de Marseille put their domestic troubles aside to claim a determined 1-0 victory against Olympiacos FC in their Group F opener in Piraeus.
Following a tight first half in which there was little to choose between the sides, midfielder Lucho González struck the decisive blow in the 51st minute. Olympiacos coach Ernesto Valverde had admitted before the match that his team might fall short in their first competitive fixture of the season, and they duly struggled to find a way back into the contest.
Both teams came quickly out of the blocks and committed numbers forward in the early stages, resulting in a flurry of corners amid a highly charged atmosphere. The hosts' lone striker, Kevin Mirallas, proved a constant threat in the opening period, and was presented with the first clear opportunity to score in the 21st minute. He side-footed wide from inside the penalty area, however, having made contact with Djamel Abdoun's low centre.
Lacking penetration for much of the opening half, Marseille, without a win in their last eight Ligue 1 matches, were reduced to trying their luck from distance through Jérémy Morel and Benoît Cheyrou. That duo combined in the 35th minute to create the visitors' best opening, though, when Cheyrou headed the former's whipped left-wing cross narrowly over Franco Costanzo's crossbar.
The visitors were starting to see more of the ball and Loïc Rémy almost opened the scoring two minutes later, but his snap-shot cannoned off Costanzo's right-hand post. Mirallas responded for Olympiacos with a fine solo run in which he weaved past two defenders before unleashing a shot which was comfortably smothered by OM goalkeeper Steve Mandanda.
Marseille began the second half as they had ended the first and were in front just six minutes in when Lucho González tapped in at the near post from Morel's superb cross from the right. The goal stunned the home crowd and Olympiacos could not find a response. Next up for the Greek Super League outfit is a trip to London to face Arsenal FC in a fortnight, when Marseille host Borussia Dortmund.
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