Last-gasp Metalist strike down Olympiacos

09:48, 16 March 2012
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It was a result that...

Olympiacos FC 1-2 FC Metalist Kharkiv (agg: 2-2, Metalist win on away goals)

Metalist hit the post and had a penalty saved before two goals in the last nine minutes took them through at the Greek champions` expense, according to

Substitute Marko Dević made amends for a penalty miss as his late goal completed a dramatic comeback, meaning FC Metalist Kharkiv edge into the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals at Olympiacos FC`s expense.

It was a result that looked far removed when Iván Marcano`s first-half header doubled the aggregate advantage for Ernesto Valverde`s side, who twice hit the woodwork and created a plethora of chances. Yet moments after Dević squandered a penalty, Cristian Villagra equalised with nine minute remaining, clearing a path for Dević`s grand atonement.

The vociferous partisan crowd was finally silenced, having been whipped into a frenzy as the hosts started at a frenetic pace. The game was four minutes old when Kevin Mirallas crashed a speculative shot off the crossbar. Soon after, David Fuster, scorer of the only goal in the first leg, volleyed wide as the home side surged forward at every opportunity.

Taison broke to the other end but his shot was saved by Olympiacos goalkeeper Balázs Megyeri after taking a deflection off Avraam Papadopoulos. The hosts` dominance was confirmed in the 15th minute when Marcano opened the scoring, planting a downward header past Vladimir Dišljenković after a great run and cross from fellow defender José Holebas.

Rafik Djebbour should have made it 2-0 a minute later but the Algeria striker was thwarted superbly by Dišljenković`s sprawling save, then Vassilis Torossidis headed against the upright. Metalist needed a change, and introduced striker Dević at half-time as they went in search of goals.

Sebastián Blanco, who turned 24 on the day of the game, almost provided one when he crashed a shot off a post after cutting in from the left. The visitors were then awarded a penalty in the 77th minute when François Modesto handled the ball. Dević`s poorly-executed Panenka-style spot kick was easily stopped, and the game looked up for Metalist.

Yet back they came. Villagra prodded in a left-wing cross to set up a tense finish before Dević clipped in José Ernesto Sosa`s corner at the second time of asking to seal progress for Myron Markevich`s side.

by Graham Wood,

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