Rosenborg BK turned the form book on its head to open their UEFA Champions League Group F campaign with a 3-1 victory at Olympiacos CFP.
Two own goals
The Norwegian side came into the game having lost their last four league matches and their poor run looked set to continue when Alejandro Lago put through his own net early on. But Rosenborg fought back as Per Ciljan Skjelbred equalised just before half-time and another own goal, this one a freak effort from Dimitrios Mavrogenidis, put them ahead. Øyvind Storflor's last-minute strike sealed Rosenborg's first Champions League away win in 17 attempts.
Olympiacos coach Trond Sollied made two key changes, bringing in Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Touré and playmaker Rivaldo after they were rested from the team that defeated Panionios NFC 5-0 at the weekend. His Rosenborg counterpart Per-Mathias Høgmo, coaching his first match at this level, was without defenders Christer Basma and Robbie Russell but first-choice goalkeeper Espen Johnsen had recovered from a knee strain to start. He proved to be the visitors' key man.
Johnsen was called into early action, clearing two Rivaldo free-kicks from dangerous positions. Although Olympiacos dominated possession, they did not create any opportunities from open play and Rosenborg seemed comfortable.
That all changed after 19 minutes, when a neat exchange between Haruna Babangida and Mavrogenidis caused Ørjan Berg to concede a free-kick between the corner flag and the edge of the Rosenborg area. The delivery from Olympiacos captain Predrag Djordjević flew over the intended target, Mihalis Konstantinou, and struck Lago five metres from goal. Johnsen could only watch as the ball rolled past him and into the left-hand corner of the net.
The home fans were buoyant but, after going ahead, Olympiacos seemed content to sit back and soak up the pressure. Rosenborg enjoyed greater control yet could not capitalise on the two occasions that striker Thorstein Helstad broke the offside trap. The game changed just before half-time, however, when Johnsen made a terrific save from a Mavrogenidis volley and the ball immediately went upfield. Storflor slipped a pass through the back line for Skjelbred to race into the area and chip over Antonios Nikopolidis to mark his group-stage debut in dramatic style.
Rosenborg began the second half on a high but could not have foreseen the manner in which they went ahead. The ball looped up after a challenge on the corner of the box and sailed over the heads of defender Georgios Anatolakis and Nikopolidis, and towards the goalline. The keeper backtracked furiously and clawed the ball away, but it hit Mavrogenidis one metre out and ricocheted into the net.
Olympiacos looked for an immediate answer but found Johnsen in inspired form. The latter leapt high to keep out a fierce drive from Touré, and was relieved to see Rivaldo volley an effort into the ground and over the bar. He allowed himself a wry smile after diving to parry Konstantinou's close-range header around a post, and next was at full stretch to divert a deflected Ieroklis Stoltidis attempt to safety.
Johnsen saved his best for the 77th minute, however, diving high to tip Rivaldo's header over the top. Substitute Daniel Braaten then released Storflor in the final minute, and he rounded Nikopolidis before slotting home to seal victory. It summed up a disappointing night for the Greek champions, while triumphant Rosenborg will already be looking forward to the visit of Olympique Lyonnais on Matchday 2.