FC Girondins de Bordeaux are within sight of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time as Michaël Ciani's header in first-half added time earned a narrow but vital victory at Olympiacos FC.
Laurent Blanc's team, who collected the most points of the 32 teams in the group stage, continued their impressive form in the competition by soaking up long spells of home pressure and snatching the win with Ciani's third goal of the season two minutes into added time at the end of the first period. Bordeaux twice reached the last eight of the European Champion Clubs' Cup in the 1980s, and will be optimistic of completing the job at the Stade Chaban-Delmas on 17 March.
Olympiacos had booked their place in the last 16 by finishing second in Group H thanks largely to their home form and, roared on by a typically passionate crowd, were quick to press for a seventh UEFA Champions League victory in as many matches in Piraeus this season. Olof Mellberg threatened first, heading Jesús Alberto Dátolo's right-wing free-kick just wide after four minutes. Olympiacos wingers Dátolo and Lomana LuaLua saw plenty of possession in the early exchanges and both men had Bordeaux on the back foot with their pace and trickery.
Although the visitors had little opportunity to display their attacking prowess – Fernando's fierce long-range drive drawing the first save from Antonis Nikopoldis in the home goal after 26 minutes – Olympiacos had no such problems, thoroughly testing a Bordeaux defence that conceded just twice in the group stage. Cédric Carrasso tipped an Ieroklis Stoltidis header over his crossbar and, just as it seemed the home team could be satisfied with their first-half display, the French champions struck seconds before half-time. Again it was a set-piece goal, Yoann Gourcuff delivering a free-kick from the left and Ciani muscling ahead of the home defence to nod in.
Gourcuff had another free-kick opportunity at the start of the second half but this time the wall blocked his kick, before Ciani got on the end of a corner only to head too high this time. Olympiacos, however, missed a golden opportunity to level just before the hour, Enzo Maresca meeting Raúl Bravo's cross firmly but inaccurately, heading over Carrasso's crossbar, but that proved a rare opening for the home team, who struggled to penetrate the Bordeaux defence despite Božidar Bandović replacing defensive midfielder Cristian Ledesma with winger Jaouad Zairi in an attempt to add impetus to his attack.
With 14 minutes left, the Olympiacos coach threw on Matt Derbyshire, who made an instant impression with a neat lay-off for LuaLua to unleash a low shot that was brilliantly kept out by Carrasso. The Bordeaux goalkeeper then tipped over another effort from the Congolese striker, although from the resulting corner he was grateful for Benoît Trémoulinas clearing Vassilis Torosidis's effort off the goalline. There was still time for Carrasso to deny LuaLua again, the goalkeeper's instinctive block repelling another close-range header to preserve Bordeaux's advantage.