United face up to Olympiacos challenge
Friday, February 28, 2014
Olympiacos FC may have lost on all previous visits to England but the Greek champions travel to Manchester United FC buoyed by their 2-0 first-leg victory in Piraeus.
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History makes Manchester United FC overwhelming favourites when they host Olympiacos FC but the round of 16 first leg has left David Moyes's side with it all to do to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2010/11.
• The English title holders have won all their previous home games against Greek opponents while Olympiacos have lost on each of their 11 visits to England.
• United qualified for the last 16 as unbeaten Group A winners, although that run ended abruptly in Piraeus on 25 February as goals from Alejandro Domínguez (38) and Joel Campbell (55) gave Olympiacos – who got through as Group C runners-up ahead of SL Benfica on head-to-head rule – a first victory against the English team at the fifth attempt. It was also the Greek club's first win in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds in their seventh fixture.
• United won all four of the clubs' encounters before the first leg, starting with a 2-0 success in Athens in the 2001/02 first group stage when David Beckham and Andrew Cole scored. Sir Alex Ferguson's men then triumphed 3-0 in Manchester with Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Ryan Giggs and Ruud van Nistelrooy netting inside the final 15 minutes. Roy Carroll, now at Olympiacos but not in their UEFA Champions League squad, was on United's bench for both matches.
• Giggs featured the first four times United met Olympiacos and was also on the scoresheet when the teams reconvened at Old Trafford in a 4-0 United victory in the 2002/03 first group stage. The Welshman struck twice with Solskjær and Juan Sebastián Verón also on target for a United side containing Rio Ferdinand. Olympiacos played the entire second half with ten men after Zé Elias's sending-off in first-half stoppage time.
• The lineups at Old Trafford on 1 October 2002 were:
Manchester United: Barthez, G Neville, Ferdinand, Blanc (O'Shea 69), Silvestre, Beckham, Butt, Verón, Giggs (Fortune 69), Scholes (Forlán 77), Solskjær.
Olympiacos: Eleftheropoulos, Amanatidis (Patsatzoglou 73), Anatolakis, Antzas, Venetidis, Giannakopoulos (Dracena 46), Karembeu, Zé Elias, Djordjević, Zetterberg, Ofori-Quaye (Alexandris 59).
• Olympiacos finally scored against United in that term's return fixture. Trailing to goals from Laurent Blanc and Verón, Giannis Kollias's hosts levelled through Lampros Choutos and Predrag Djordjević, only to succumb to an 84th-minute Paul Scholes winner.
• Olympiacos are seeking a first quarter-final appearance since 1999. This is their first time in the knockout phase since 2009/10, when they lost home and away to FC Girondins de Bordeaux. United fell at this stage last season, 3-2 on aggregate to Real Madrid CF, and last contested the quarter-finals in 2010/11, when they went on to the final.
• United have a 100% home record in the current UEFA Champions League, having beaten Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Real Sociedad de Fútbol and FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Another victory would spell their best sequence in the competition at Old Trafford since 2007/08, when they went on to win the competition.
• United have won all five preceding home fixtures against Greek visitors, beginning with a 2-0 extra-time success against Athinaikos FC in the first round of their 1991/92 European Cup Winners' Cup campaign. Their most recent Old Trafford tussle with opponents from Greece brought a 5-0 win over Panathinaikos FC in the 2003/04 group stage – a game involving Giggs and Phil Neville, now United's first-team coach.
• United have mounted a successful fightback only once after a first-leg defeat in the UEFA Champions League. That came when they overwhelmed AS Roma 7-1 after a 2-1 reverse in Italy in the 2006/07 quarter-finals.
• They have been eliminated on six other occasions, however:
Borussia Dortmund, 1996/97 (0-1 away, 0-1 home)
FC Bayern München 2000/01 (0-1 home, 1-2 away)
Real Madrid CF 2002/03 (1-3 away, 4-3 home)
FC Porto 2003/04 (1-2 away, 1-1 home)
AC Milan 2004/05 (0-1 home, 0-1 away)
FC Bayern München 2009/10 (1-2 away, 3-2 home – lost on away goals)
• United have lost the away first leg 16 times in UEFA competition, and on only six of those occasions have they come back to win the tie. When facing a two-goal deficit at Old Trafford they have won three ties and lost four; however, when that deficit is 2-0, they beat Tottenham Hotspur FC (1963/64 European Cup Winners' Cup first round, 4-1 second leg) and FC Barcelona (1983/84 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals, 3-0 second leg) but went down to FK Partizan (1965/66 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals, 1-0 second leg) and AC Milan (1968/69 European Cup semi-finals, 1-0 second leg)
• Olympiacos have lost all five previous two-legged knockout ties against English clubs in UEFA competition. Moreover, their record on English soil reads P11 L11, with a goal record of F3 A34. Their most recent trip yielded a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal FC in last season's group stage, Kostas Mitroglou scoring for an Olympiacos side then led by Leonardo Jardim.
• The Greek champions did take four points – via a victory at RSC Anderlecht and a draw at SL Benfica – on the road in Group C, their best performance away from home in a UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Olympiacos have won the home first leg 14 times in UEFA competition and won all but four of those ties – triumphing on all three occasions that they prevailed 2-0 in the first instalment. They have let slip a two-goal lead, however, beating GNK Dinamo Zagreb 3-1 in the 1977/78 UEFA Cup first round before losing the away leg 5-1.
• As Everton FC manager, Moyes oversaw a 3-1 home victory over Larissa FC in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage, and home and away wins against AEK Athens FC in the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League group stage – 4-0 in Liverpool and 1-0 in Athens.
• Míchel's only previous meeting with English opposition came in 1984/85 when he was in the Real Madrid CF team that ousted Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. With Spain he played in two home friendlies against England – a 4-2 loss in February 1987 and a 1-0 success in September 1992.
• Shinji Kagawa's Borussia Dortmund beat Olympiacos 3-1 at home but succumbed 1-0 away in the 2011/12 group stage.
• Robin van Persie scored Arsenal's first goal in a 2-0 home victory over an Olympiacos side including Avraam Papadopoulos in the 2009/10 group stage. He also figured in Arsenal's 2-1 home triumph against the Greek title holders in the 2011/12 group stage.
• Goalkeepers Roberto and David de Gea were colleagues at Club Atlético de Madrid in 2009/10. Indeed, it was an injury to Roberto that gave De Gea the opportunity to make his Atlético debut, the then 18-year-old emerging as a 26th-minute replacement in a 2-0 UEFA Champions League defeat at FC Porto in September 2009.
• Javier Saviola and Patrice Evra were team-mates at AS Monaco FC in 2004/05. They played in a 2-1 group-phase home win against Olympiacos – Saviola registering the first goal – while Evra also appeared in the 1-0 reverse in the Piraeus return.