Olympiakos 2 Manchester United 0

Manchester United face an uphill task if they are to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League, following a humbling defeat in Greece.

Goals either side of half time from Dominguez, and Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell sent the Greek outfit on their way to a historic victory against the current Premier League Champions.

Olympiakos, buoyed by their terrific home support, started the better of the two, forcing United on the back foot in the opening exchanges.

Joel Campbell was being a real pest to United’s ageing defence, and tested David De Gea with a rasping drive.

United themselves were poor beyond belief,  only registering one shot on target in the entire game itself, with both Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney seemingly spectators as Olympiakos looked to take the lead.

De Gea had to be at his best after 21 minutes, clawing  Maniatis goal-bound effort away from goal, after the midfielder had previously beat Vidic to the ball, and hit a rasping, dipping effort from all of 35 yards.

United were coming into the game more after half an hour, with Evra and Young linking up well together down the wing, before Young whipped in a teasing ball to the back post, which Robin Van Persie failed to fully connect with.  

Europe has been somewhat a rather tricky area for Premier League clubs, and United looked average on the European stage, against a very classy Olympiakos outfit.

When the draw was made, United supporters, and players alike, may have been rather confident about their passage into the next phase, following the high profile departure of Olympiakos’ top scorer Kostas Mitroglu to Fulham. Javier Saviola’s injury appeared to have further blunted the Greeks’ attack which was led by Michael Olaitan.

United’s worst fears were confirmed after 38 minutes, as the runaway Greek Superliga leaders took a deserved lead, as Dominguez profited from some kamikaze defender, plus a wicked deflection to send the home supporters wild.

Maniatas shot into a crowd of players, with the ball deflecting into the path of Dominguez, who swung a boot at the ball, with De Gea wrong footed, and unable to manage to save the ball from trickling over the line.

United looked shell-shocked after the break, and central midfielders Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley looked lost in the hostile atmosphere in Athens.

Moyes’, and Manchester United’s night got worse, as ten minutes after half time Olympiakos had a killer second, through Arsenal loanee Joel Campbell.

 Versatile midfielder Maniatis was allowed room to run at the ageing defensive pair of Vidic and Ferdinand, after skipping Carrick.

 

The ball was then won by Joel Campbell, who beat Vidic and curled the ball superbly into the far corner past the despairing dive of De Gea, after 54 minutes.

United’s efforts to attack were thwarted by the Greeks stubborn defensive partnership, with Van Persie and Rooney struggling in anger.

Campbell and Maniatis were running rings around the United defence at Campbell was ever so close to adding a third after 70 minutes, with the ball just skimming just past the post.

The visitor’s best chance of the game came from Robin Van Persie, who controlled a long ball pumped down by Vidic, with the Dutch striker controlling the ball and lashing high over the bar with ten minutes left.

Rio Ferdinand was very lucky not to concede a penalty, after catching David Fuster just outside the box in added time, as the Greeks hung on, with a clean sheet, and a superb win to take back to Old Trafford for the second leg.

By Ben Reardon

 

@BenReardon1

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