Defender Michał Żewłakow had nothing but praise for the "great character" of Olympiacos CFP after they came from behind to claim a spirited 2-1 win at S.S. Lazio and move to within touching distance of the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Only their second away win in the competition, Olympiacos's achievement was all the greater for having conceded an opening goal to Goran Pandev (30) before strikes either side of the break by Luciano Galletti (35) and Darko Kovačević (64) gave the huge travelling support cause for optimism ahead of the Matchday 6 visit of Werder Bremen. "We got our tactics spot on and proved that we are a good team with great character," said Żewłakow.
"After we hit them with the sucker punch Lazio had the ball at their feet for long periods but we defended well and held our shape," added the Polish international. "We wanted to come here and prove that we can play away from home. Getting the three points after going a goal down was special and I'd like to dedicate this win to the 8,000 faithful supporters who came all the way from Athens to watch us."
Bremen's 3-2 defeat of Real Madrid CF has left the group wide open and although Olympiacos are second, with the same points tally as the Spanish champions, all four sides can still qualify on the final day. "It's good that we will play our last game at home against Werder Bremen but it won't be easy because they have just beaten Real Madrid and also have the chance to go through," added the 31-year-old. "I was proud to qualify for the [2008 UEFA] European Championship with Poland and now I hope I'll be able to share another qualification in front of our home fans."
Lazio captain Tommaso Rocchi set up Pandev's opener but was ultimately disappointed at his side's inability to hold their advantage. The 30-year-old tried to remain upbeat about Lazio's prospects, even though they need to win in Madrid while hoping that Bremen fail to beat Olympiacos in Greece. "We should have been better at protecting our lead," he said.
"In a match of this importance when you are 1-0 up you need to be more shrewd. You need to draw them out and hit them on the break, like we did against Bremen. Instead we conceded a goal straight away and didn't recover after their second goal. But while there is life there is hope.
We just have to go to Madrid, win and hope for the best."
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