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Olympiacos beat Montpellier to close on top two

Published: Tuesday 6 November 2012, 22.45CET
Olympiacos FC 3-1 Montpellier Hérault SC
Late Leandro Greco and Kostas Mitroglou goals earned Olympiacos a second successive Group B win as they closed in on the top two.
by Graham Wood
from Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium

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Published: Tuesday 6 November 2012, 22.45CET

Olympiacos beat Montpellier to close on top two

Olympiacos FC 3-1 Montpellier Hérault SC
Late Leandro Greco and Kostas Mitroglou goals earned Olympiacos a second successive Group B win as they closed in on the top two.

Olympiacos FC kept alive their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League after defeating Group B rivals Montpellier Hérault SC for the second time in successive matchdays.

Goals from Leandro Greco and Kostas Mitroglou in the final ten minutes sealed victory for Leonardo Jardim's side after Montpellier had cancelled out Paulo Machado's early effort through a Younes Belhanda penalty. Having also beaten Montpellier 2-1 at La Mosson on matchday three, the Greek club now have six points, and while they remain third in the group, they are just one point behind second-placed Arsenal FC and two adrift of leaders FC Schalke 04.

While Montpellier coach René Girard did not go so far as to label the contest as make-or-break in the build-up, he knew his team needed to avoid another loss if they were to retain any realistic hope of playing European football in the spring.

The Greek champions got off to a perfect start, though, taking the lead after four minutes following a superb forward surge by left-back José Holebas. The Greek international's penetrating run down the left channel and low cross caused panic in the visitors' penalty area, and although Mitroglou's shot hit the post, Machado was on hand to tap in the rebound.

There was little in the way of endeavour on offer from the French title holders' in what was a disappointing first half for them, with Souleymane Camara's misdirected lob the sum total of their efforts. Gaëtan Charbonnier, the goalscorer in Montpellier's 2-1 reverse on matchday three, replaced Rémy Cabella at half-time as Girard looked to bolster his attack, but it was the home side who remained the more threatening.

Montpellier finally started to put some pressure on the home goal on the hour mark when Roy Carroll rushed out to block substitute Jonathan Tinhan's shot. Joris Marveaux then headed straight at the Northern Irishman from close range before the away team were given the opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot after Camara was felled in the box by Djamel Abdoun. Belhanda confidently slotted in the spot kick to level matters.

Abdoun almost made up for his indiscretion with a goal but his long-range strike was brilliantly tipped wide by visiting keeper Geoffrey Jourden. However, Olympiacos then went 2-1 ahead with ten minutes left when Greco capitalised after Montpellier failed to clear a corner. Mitroglou sealed the three points two minutes later with a close-range finish from another Holebas cross.

Last updated: 04/12/13 19.06CET

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