Champions League - Olympiacos beat Arsenal but go out

Tue, 06 Dec 21:47:00 2011

Arsenal lost 3-1 to Olympiacos at the Stadio Karaiskaki, though the Greek side still crashed out of the Champions League as Marseille overcame Borussia Dortmund with a couple of late goals in the other game in Group F.

Olympiacos' Jose Holebas vies with Arsenal's Marouane Chamakh (R) during their UEFA Champions League football match at the Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus, near Athens - 0

The Gunners sent out a weakened team since they were guaranteed top spot regardless of the result, but Olympiacos were left heartbroken as news of the other game filtered through late on.

The Greek side opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour through Rafik Djebbour and doubled their lead 10 minutes from half-time courtesy of David Fuster after a Vito Mannone mistake.

Arsenal got back in it when Yossi Benayoun lashed in an excellent strike, but the game was put to bed late on when Francois Modesto tapped in.

The first half was all Olymiacos. As early as the second minute they nearly got through courtesy of a woeful clearance from Lukasz Fabianski. The home side streamed forward, but Johan Djourou did enough to smuggle it clear.

Arsenal created their best chance of the half soon after. Marouane Chamakh slipped Andrey Arshavin into the area, the Russian tried to nutmeg Balazs Megyari eight yards out, but the keeper saved well with his legs.

Olympiacos got off the mark when a through ball took a fortuitous clip off Sebastien Squillaci, then Djourou, before Djebbour took it round Fabianski to slot it in at the near post.

The Pole again hit a terrible clearance shortly after that fell straight to Kevin Mirallas about 40 yards from goal. He tried his best to clip it over the goalkeeper, who would have been beaten, but it fell just wide.

After 25 minutes Fabianski went off injured after clashing with Thomas Vermaelen. Mannone came on in his stead, but did nothing to improve the standard of Arsenal goalkeeping.

Ten minutes before the interval he rushed out and headed away well on the edge of the area. The ball fell straight to Fuster, who clipped a ball back towards goal. The Italian did not know whether or not he was in the area, so went with his feet, when it would have been a simple catch.

Arsenal reduced the arrears through Benayoun who was making a rare start. Chamakh chested the ball down in the area, where the Israeli met it with a swerving half volley into the top corner.

Olympiacos should have put the game to bed just a minute later after hesitation between Squillaci and Mannone allowed Modesto a free header, but it went just wide. Half chances came and went for both sides until Modesto atoned late on for his previous miss.

A free-kick by the corner flag was headed onto the post by Olof Mellberg, the Arsenal defenders stepped up, but too late and Modesto had the simplest of tasks.

At that point they thought they were going through. At the final whistle though the news of the other result seeped through, to the despair of players and fans alike.

Tom Embury-Dennis / Eurosport

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