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Pardo lives the dream at Olympiacos

"This morning I wasn't expecting something like this to happen," Felipe Pardo told UEFA.com after coming off the bench to score twice and give Olympiacos a comeback victory.

Felipe Pardo celebrates victory
Felipe Pardo celebrates victory ©AFP/Getty Images

Being on the bench is no player's dream. But coming off the bench, when the team are losing, and becoming the star of an impressive comeback is what any footballer wants to imagine when they drift off at night.

Felipe Pardo experienced that for real on Wednesday evening. Olympiacos had fallen behind in the first half to Dinamo Zagreb and had missed a spot kick after the break. Cue Felipe Pardo, and cue a 2-1 win that leaves Olympiacos six points ahead of Dinamo and Arsenal with two games to go in Group F.

"I admit that this morning I wasn't expecting something like this to happen," Pardo told UEFA.com. "I knew that Dinamo Zagreb would be tough opponents, I knew that I wouldn't be in the starting lineup. I was as always prepared to transmit positive energy to my team-mates who would play, I knew that they would give it their all."

Pardo was introduced on 64 minutes and it took him just seconds to make his presence felt, equalising with his first touch. He then earned a foul that let to Dinamo's Josip Pivarić receiving his second yellow card and in the 90th minute Pardo struck again to seal a remarkable comeback that was celebrated profusely on and off the pitch.

"A player strives to give it everything in every match, no matter if he starts or comes off the bench. I entered with 25 minutes remaining and thank God I could score. That can happen to anyone, if they work on a daily basis, sacrifice themselves, are humble and give it all on any given day."

The 25-year old Colombian winger thinks that the most important moment of the match was right after Olympiacos missed the penalty: "That is when we proved our mettle, our character, that we weren't going to give up. On the contrary, we continued giving it all, tried to produce football and create chances. That was the trick to turning the tie around."

Watch: Pardo performs heroics

He is radiant with the victory and his part in it, but refuses to put it down to individual merit: "I wouldn't have done it without the help of my team-mates. We grew on the pitch, took advantage of our numerical superiority in the final minutes and finished off the encounter in the best possible way.

"After the equaliser we really believed we could go the extra step. This confidence enabled us to turn it around. If a team trains well during the week, that is reflected on the pitch. They have answers for any situation. That was evident today."

As opposed to previous campaigns, Olympiacos's key ingredient this season is the confidence Felipe Pardo is speaking about. They have never before recorded three victories in a row in their 17 participations in the UEFA Champions League, and never been on nine points from the first four games.

The Greek champions are having a spectacular campaign so far and Pardo explains that there is no magic formula. "Just working, improving, being calm, getting creative on the pitch and remaining strong as a family on and off the pitch," he said. "That's the trick. The Champions League is one of the most important tournaments in world football. The desire to do well is obvious, as all players want to participate in it."