Olympiakos beats Arsenal 3-1 in Champions league
Updated: December 06, 2011, 17:40
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PIRAEUS, Greece(AP) Olympiakos beat Arsenal 3-1 but missed out on making the Champions League knockout round on Tuesday.
Olympiakos thought it had done enough to advance to the last 16, until the team and fans were instantly deflated when they heard of Marseille's stunning comeback win at Dortmund to snatch the runner-up spot to Arsenal in Group F.
"We're out of the Champions League but we should be proud of our game. Arsenal gave nothing away and the way we were eliminated was cruel. So we are disappointed,'' Olympiakos coach Ernesto Valverde said.
"We did everything we needed to do ... but what counts is success at the right moment. If football matches lasted 85 minutes we'd be through, But they last 90 minutes.''
First-half goals from Rafik Djebbour and David Fuster gave Olympiakos a comfortable halftime lead. Yossi Benayoun pulled a goal back in the 57th minute as the hosts tired in the second half, and Francois Modesto clinched it with the third in the final minute.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rested free-scoring Robin van Persie and other star players, having already secured top spot in the group, and his side lost the initiative early at Karaiskaki Stadium.
"I'm annnoyed because we lost the game. I feel offensively and defensively we were not convincing tonight,'' Wenger said.
"I think, overall, Olympiakos deserved to win the game but unfortunately it was not enough for them ... Marseilles got a super result.''
Wenger said midfielder Andre Santos "could be out for some time'' after being carried off in the second half with an ankle injury.
Djebbour set the tone for Olympiakos' dominance early in the game, with a goal in the 16th minute. He took a well-timed swerve past goalkeeper Lulasz Fabianski and had no trouble slotting the ball home.
Ten minutes later Fabianski was injured and carried off. But replacement Vito Mannone fared little better, slipping as he returned from a clearance to let Fuster add a second for Olympiakos with a left-footed lob in the 36th.
The Greek champion pressed Arsenal into making successive mistakes. Swedish defender Olog Mellberg returned from injury to play a key role.
The London side was quiet for most of the match, with Benayoun firing wide in the area in the 31st.
A header from Mellberg hit the crossbar in the 47th, and Modesto headed over an open goal in the 58th.
Olympiakos goalkeeper Balasz Megyeri did well to deny Arsenal substitute Tomas Rosicky a goal in the 74th, plucking the ball away from the Czech midfielder in a late attacking spell from the visitors.