Tottenham Hotspur wasted a 2-0 lead on the road in Athens as another Premier League club came up short in its Champions League opener, drawing 2-2 with Olympiacos.
Harry Kane bagged a 26th minute penalty and Lucas Moura doubled the lead on the half-hour mark, but Daniel Podence and Mathieu Valbuena – by far the Greeks’ two most incisive players throughout the match – were on hand to erase the lead and rescue a point for the hosts.
Kane’s opening goal made him the third-fastest player to reach 15 Champions League goals, needing just 20 matches to reach the mark. He profited with a penalty blasted straight down the middle, sending a helpless Jose Sa the wrong way. Moura, last season’s Champions League hero, again came up big in European play with a right-footed rocket from just outside the top of the penalty area.
Unfortunately, it all broke down from there. Podence, who was an absolute menace down the right for Olympiacos, clawed one back just before halftime on a brilliant counter. Valbuena delivered a wonderful through-ball for a full-speed Podence and Portuguese winger’s exceptional first touch got him away from chasing defenders for a far-post finish.
Valbuena was also excellent on the ball, overloading the right flank often. He was on hand to deliver an equalizing penalty in the 54th minute after a foul by Jan Vertonghen. It is Valbuena’s first goal in Champions League play since he stunned Borussia Dortmund with an 87th minute winner that sent Lyon through to the knockout round. Questions will be asked of Olympiacos manager Pedro Martins who withdrew Valbuena with 20 minutes to go, which baffled many and left the hosts with little attacking mentality down the stretch.
Dele Alli had a chance to give Spurs the lead again past the hour mark, but his low shot from distance was fabulously saved by Sa who got big and stuck out his right boot to clip the effort wide. As Spurs poured on the pressure late, Erik Lamela forced another save by Sa with a tight-angled shot to the near post. After Chelsea and Liverpool both fell on the road in Champions League play on Tuesday, the draw felt like a defeat for the Londoners.
Daniil Utkin’s 10th minute goal was the first Olympiacos has allowed in 550 minutes of UCL play this season, but the Greeks responded within a minute. Youssef El-Arabi’s 11th minute marker was the first of two on the day, and Olympiacos should prove to be a challenge coming out of Pot 3.
Rosenborg 1-1 (1-3 agg.) Dinamo Zagreb
Babajide David’s 11th minute goal gave the Norwegian side hope of overturning their 2-0 away first leg, but it was the only of its eight shots on target to see the scoreboard. Amer Gojak scored with about 20 minutes to play to salt away the tie.
In the catbird seat with two away goals entering the match, Red Star was happy to absorb pressure from its desperate Swiss visitors until an opportunity presented itself in the form of Aleksa Vukanovic’s header.
Young Boys would need two goals from that point, and only found one via Comoros national teamer El Fardou Mohamed Ben Nabouhane. That’s not a huge surprise, as Red Star backstop and Canadian star Milan Borjan has been steady between the sticks.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Croatia, Rosenborg must launch a huge comeback at home against Dinamo Zagreb to make the group stage. Elsewhere, Red Star Belgrade drew 2-2 at Young Boys in a wild first leg in Switzerland, and with the addition of a military tank to the stadium for the second leg, it’s sure to be a wild night in Serbia.
Olympiacos are basically through to the group stage after they hammered FC Krasnodar 4-0 in the first leg in Greece last week but if the Russians score early, who knows what might happen…
Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which all kick off at 3 p.m. ET.
Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered with a roundup of the action right here on Pro Soccer Talk.
Rosenborg v. Dinamo Zagreb (0-2)
Red Star Belgrade v. Young Boys (2-2)
FC Krasnodar v. Olympiacos (0-4)
We’re so close to Thursday and the UEFA Champions League group stage draw, but six spots are still in play.
Here’s the state of play in all six ties.
Tuesday All matches at 3 p.m. ET
Krasnodar returns home knowing it needs a historic result to have any hope of the group stage. Olympiacos has a 4-goal lead and has not allowed a goal in a competitive game in 540 minutes.
Red Star Belgrade holds the cards as Young Boys return the visit from a 2-2 first leg in Switzerland. A win obviously does the trick, but so will 0-0 or 1-1 draws.
Croatian powers Dinamo Zagreb hold a 2-0 edge after their first leg win over Rosenborg.
Wednesday All matches at 3 p.m. ET
American teen Sergino Dest and Ajax didn’t manage a goal in Cyprus, but will like their chances of beating APOEL Nicosia for a place in the next stage.
Club Brugge and Slavia Prague return home from first legs with 1-0 advantages. Austrian side LASK will try to take care of Brugge in Belgium, while CFR Cluj has the challenge of overturning the Czech side’s one-goal advantage.
Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos cruised into the driver’s seat after multi-goal shutout home wins ahead next week’s second legs, while Young Boys and Red Star Belgrade thrilled in a 2-2 draw on Wednesday.
Olympiacos 4-0 Krasnodar
Lazar Randelovic scored two times in seven minutes as Olympiacos smashed open its playoff round tie with Krasnodar at Karaiskakis Stadium on Wednesday.
Miguel Guerrero and Daniel Podence also scored for the Greeks, whose lead was just 1-0 at halftime.
Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 Rosenborg
The Croatian powers got their goals in the firs half hour, with Bruno Petkovic converting an 8th minute penalty and Mislav Orsic rounding out the scoring in the 28th.
Young Boys 2-2 Red Star Belgrade
A combined 40 shots graced the Stade de Suisse in Switzerland, with the hosts taking 27 as well as an early lead. It was 1-1 after 18 minutes and the visitors took their only lead of the match in the 46th minute.
Guillaume Hoarau converted a 76th minute penalty to lower the damage heading to Serbia, and Red Star will be grateful for some fine saves coming from keeper Milan Borjan.
The Canadian backstop was very good aside from the opener, which was a 1v1 chance but also somewhat preventable.