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Late Stoltidis header stuns Standard

Published: Wednesday 21 October 2009, 0.20CET
Olympiacos FC 2-1 R. Standard de Liège
A last-gasp Ieroklis Stoltidis header earned the Greek titleholders
an invaluable Group H victory against their Belgian counterparts.
by Graham Wood
from Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium

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Published: Wednesday 21 October 2009, 0.20CET

Late Stoltidis header stuns Standard

Olympiacos FC 2-1 R. Standard de Liège
A last-gasp Ieroklis Stoltidis header earned the Greek titleholders
an invaluable Group H victory against their Belgian counterparts.

A last-gasp Ieroklis Stoltidis header earned Olympiacos FC an invaluable UEFA Champions League Group H win against R. Standard de Liège in Piraeus.

Dramatic end
Standard had forged ahead through captain Igor De Camargo's composed finish late eight minutes before half-time but Kostas Mitroglou ensured the sides were all-square at the interval. Both sides had chances but the match seemed destined for a draw until deep into added time when substitute Stoltidis powered in Luciano Galletti's corner. Olympiacos closed within one point of leaders Arsenal FC, four ahead of AZ Alkmaar and five clear of bottom-placed Standard, who welcome the Greek champions on 4 November.

Frantic opening
Olympiacos coach Zico had urged his players to attack from the first minute and they did just that, Dudu blazing over after their initial attack. The visitors responded swiftly, Dieudonné Mbokani shooting wide. Yet the home side were soon on top and as the boisterous supporters in the stands tried to unsettle László Bölöni's team, Galletti – making his group-stage bow after injury – and Jaouad Zairi were doing likewise down the flanks.

Chances
Zairi tried his luck from distance, but Standard remained a threat and midfielder Wilifried Dalmat was presented with a chance to put the visitors ahead midway through the half. The impressive Mbokani dribbled past Olof Mellberg and Michał Żewłakow on the left before sending over a cross which landed kindly for Dalmat, but the Frenchman flashed his shot narrowly wide. Galletti replied immediately for Olympiacos, shaving the left post with a speculative strike.

Goal rush
Despite long spells of pressure from the home side it was Standard who opened the scoring. De Camargo, who passed a late fitness test after recovering from a broken toe, ran on to Milan Jovanović's clever through-ball and slotted low past Antonis Nikopolidis to stun the home crowd. Olympiacos were level two minutes before half-time, however, Mitroglou looping in a header from Galletti's free-kick.

Standard threat
The visitors were back on the attack after the restart and Jovanović was denied by a point-blank Nikopolidis save four minutes in. At the other end Galletti drew a smart save from Sinan Bolat with a shot from an acute angle while Mellberg flashed a header over as Olympiacos regained the initiative.

Exciting finish
Both teams continued to go for goals in an entertaining match, Mitroglou trying his luck with an improvised overhead kick before Jovanović rattled the crossbar with a stunning strike from distance. Olympiacos poured forward in the latter stages and Dudu had the ball in the net after 84 minutes but his effort was ruled out for handball. Maresca then drew a superb save from Bolat but the goalkeeper was finally beaten at the death by Stoltidis, a 72nd-minute replacement for Zairi.

Last updated: 27/11/12 11.16CET

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