By Paris Ayiomamatis at the Georgios Kamaras
Olympiacos CFP secured their first UEFA Champions League points of the season with a 3-0 Matchday 4 win against Group D rivals Galatasaray SK in Athens. First-half goals from Dimitrios Mavrogenidis and Nery Alberto Castillo had given the Greek champions a solid lead, before the impressive Giovanni rounded off the scoring in the dying moments.
Playing before a sell-out crowd, Olympiacos made an impressive start as Giovanni broke free in the area to force a fingertip save from Galatasaray goalkeeper Faryd Móndragon after two minutes with a well-struck shot.
The stadium was set alight on six minutes when Mavrogenidis caught Galatasaray's defence off guard to blast a volley past Móndragon from Stylianos Venetidis's cross. The early goal catapulted the match into action, as the visitors tried to regain composure while Olympiacos put their opponents under increasing pressure.
Marshalled by the irrepressible Giovanni up front, the hosts were a constant threat to the shaken visitors, who rarely looked dangerous. Eager to gain their first points in the competition, Olympiacos quickly established dominance and produced a string of good chances.
Olympiacos almost extended their lead on 16 minutes after Giovanni slalomed past a beaten Móndragon to set up Castillo with an open goal, only for the young Uruguayan to hit the bar. Oleh Protasov's side came close again on 23 minutes after a Venetidis shot went just wide.
Castillo squandered another close-range chance on 30 minutes after tamely hitting a Predrag Djordjevic through-ball into Móndragon's arms from close range. However, the Uruguayan striker redeemed himself four minutes later after capitalising on a mis-hit back-pass from Frank de Boer to slot the ball calmly into the back of the net.
Faced with the threat of a rout, Galatasaray pushed men forward but were unable to take advantage of some untidy defending from the hosts who continued to look dangerous on the break. The match was almost put beyond the visitors' reach when Mavrogenidis broke down the right-hand side of the pitch but his shot floated hopelessly over the crossbar.
Olympiacos press on
Hasan Sas almost pulled one back five minutes before half-time but Olympiacos goalkeeper Theofanis Katergiannakis firmly blocked the Turkish international striker's advance. Steered on by Giovanni and Castillo, Olympiacos continued to press on after the break.
However, Fatih Terim's side began to assert themselves after the hour, enjoying most of the possession but unable to trouble the home defence. Substitute Pandelis Kafes almost sealed the match for the hosts on 72 minutes after firing the ball wide from close range.
As time ticked on, the game slipped away from Galatasaray as the leaders looked firmly in control. An inspired back-heel from Giovanni released Giorgios Georgiadis, who was unable to complete the effort.
The game looked to have finished on a sour note. First, Galatasaray's Akman Ayhan was sent off two minutes from time for kicking out at substitute Andreas Niniadis, before an off-the-ball incident saw Predrag Djordjevic receive his second yellow card. Galatasaray goalkeeper Móndragon was booked for his part in the incident.
However, in the sixth minute of added time, Giovanni lit up the ground with a tremendous goal. Sprinting clear against Móndragon, he ingeniously scooped the ball over the advancing goalkeeper and into the net, sealing the hosts' win in style.