Olympiacos 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb
A 90th-minute winner from substitute Felipe Pardo, who had earlier equalised Armin Hodžić's opener, left the hosts on the brink of progress.
Article top media content
- Substitute Felipe Pardo earns Olympiacos vital win against Dinamo Zagreb
- Armin Hodžić's 21st-minute header gives visitors lead
- Dinamo goalkeeper Eduardo saves
- Felipe Pardo's fine shot levels (65); Pardo then scores 90th-minute winner
- Next games: Bayern v Olympiacos, Arsenal v Dinamo Zagreb (24 November)
Olympiacos are on the verge of reaching the UEFA Champions League round of 16 after Felipe Pardo came off the bench to inspire a comeback victory against Dinamo Zagreb in Piraeus.
Kicking off in second place in Group F, Olympiacos were on the front foot from the outset, Kostas Fortounis's shot from range going just wide and Hernâni heading Arthur Masuaku's cross over the bar.
Dinamo, however, refused to be cowed and forced the opening goal midway through the first half. The home side's lack of intensity allowed Josip Pivarić to charge down the left and produce a pinpoint centre that reached the unmarked Armin Hodžić; the forward duly nodded past the exposed Roberto.
Thereafter Dinamo's ambitions were clear: to keep things tight in defence, press hard and play on the counterattack. By contrast, Olympiacos were struggling to find rhythm and lacked creativity, although the game changed after the interval.
A new positive approach from Marco Silva's team earned a penalty after Fortounis conjured a defence-splitting pass to send Ideye Brown clear – Gonçalo Santos fouling the Nigeria forward in a bid to rescue the situation. Fortounis took the spot kick but Eduardo dived to his right to block, with Fortounis lashing the rebound high into the crowd.
Olympiacos, however, would not be downhearted and pulled level 11 minutes later. Seconds after coming off the bench, and with his first touch, Pardo curled a left-foot strike beyond the outstretched Eduardo to make it 1-1.
If the Colombian enlivened the home attack, with 11 minutes remaining Pivarić undermined the away side's prospects by picking up a second yellow card for a foul on the substitute. It looked initially like Dinamo would escape unscathed but Olympiacos, and their talismanic substitute, had other ideas.
In the 90th minute Fortounis chipped the ball over the defence and Pardo was inevitably onto it, sending a low finish whistling into the net. With Olympiacos therefore needing a single point from their last two games to guarantee progress, the celebrations were understandably unrestrained.
Marco Silva, Olympiacos coach
Arsenal and Bayern were the favourites when the group stage began. We may have surprised some people, but we've fought in every match and the results have come. We know how to suffer when we have to. The position we're in now is the result of hard work.
Felipe Pardo did very well for the 25 minutes after he came off the bench. But today's result is a team effort. The team kept their composure and conducted themselves well throughout the game, even before Pardo came on. We missed a penalty and it hurt our morale but we managed to pull through, we kept on believing and got the result we wanted.
Zoran Mamić, Dinamo Zagreb coach
I have to congratulate Olympiacos who have taken a big step towards qualifying for the next phase. However, I am extremely sad because my team put in a lot of effort and, despite the injury problems we have, they played really well.
I am sad, too, because we gave a good performance in both games against Olympiacos but in the end we've not been rewarded with any points. My team have shown they can play at a much higher level and be competitive in the UEFA Champions League group stage.