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Greece's greatest Champions League nights

With Olympiacos looking to hold off Arsenal to secure a place in the round of 16,'s Vassiliki Papantonopolou celebrates some memorable Greek matchnights.

Olympiacos after beating United in Piraeus
Olympiacos after beating United in Piraeus ©AFP/Getty Images

Ajax 0-1 Panathinaikos
03/04/96, UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg

Juan Ramón Rocha's men had one foot in the final after a heroic performance in Ajax's last-ever European game at the Olympic Stadium. Star striker Krzysztof Warzycha scored the decider in the 87th minute, collecting the ball after Giorgos Donis's memorable run from his own half. The Greens' defending was exemplary – and they conceded just eight fouls all night. "Our plan demanded clean defending and making the most of our counterattacks," the coach noted. Dreams of a second final – following their 1971 loss to Ajax – were dashed by a 3-0 home reverse in the second leg.

Panathinaikos 1-0 Barcelona
03/04/02, UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg

Highlights: Great Greek nights
Highlights: Great Greek nights

"A 1-0 win or even a 0-0 draw would be very good results from our point of view," said Sergio Markarián before his side accomplished that very mission, Angelos Basinas sending Roberto Bonano the wrong way with a 79th-minute spot kick after Jonas Kolkka had been impeded by Abelardo. Though Rivaldo spearheaded the quest for an equaliser, Panathinaikos prevailed, thus remaining unbeaten at home in European competition that season. They went ahead in the second leg too, only for Henk ten Cate's Barça to rally and win 3-1.

AEK 1-0 Milan
21/11/06, UEFA Champions League group stage

AEK after getting the better of Milan
AEK after getting the better of Milan©Getty Images

A masterful 32nd-minute free-kick from Júlio César secured a famous victory for AEK – only their third in 23 UEFA Champions League group-stage fixtures. "I am glad to have beaten a great goalkeeper like Dida and to have scored on this occasion," said the Brazilian after a match in which Stefano Sorrentino shone in goal for AEK. However, the Athens club would miss out on a round of 16 berth with a matchday six draw, while Milan made amends six months later by returning to the OAKA Spiros Louis Stadium to beat Liverpool 2-1 in the final.

Olympiacos 2-0 Manchester United
25/02/14, UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg

"This is a historic night for the club and we are thrilled," Argentinian playmaker Alejandro Domínguez said after helping Olympiacos defeat United. "We picked the perfect moment to show that Greek football is alive and kicking," added coach Míchel. His players were not intimidated by their illustrious rivals and punished United's lapses of concentration, Domínguez and Joel Campbell on target. Even so, Robin van Persie's second-leg hat-trick meant David Moyes's men won on aggregate. "It's a harsh punishment for our players who put in a great effort," observed Míchel.

Arsenal 2-3 Olympiacos
29/09/15, UEFA Champions League group stage

Olympiacos triumphed on English soil for the first time in 13 attempts, strikes from Felipe Pardo and Alfred Finnbogason, plus a David Ospina own goal, due reward for a spirited display. Marshalled by playmaker Kostas Fortounis and evergreen midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, Olympiacos led three times – and responded quickly after both Arsenal goals. "Our players had to dig deep to get what they wanted from the game," coach Marco Silva said. "We deserved this victory because we worked so hard to achieve it."

Felipe Pardo after finding the target at Arsenal
Felipe Pardo after finding the target at Arsenal©AFP/Getty Images