Olympiakos held Barcelona to a goalless draw on Tuesday for the Champions League as its players worked hard to prevent the Spaniards from scoring on a number of occasions at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.
The Reds fielded a defense-minded team, with its starting line-up sporting no strikers at all.
In the first half-hour Barcelona was dominant, with Lionel Messi missing three big chances and Olympiakos goalie Silvio Proto credited with two brilliant saves.
Costas Fortounis missed a great chance for Olympiakos on the 37th minute, following a beautiful team move, as his effort was parried by Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The Spanish league leader came out stronger after half-time and put more pressure on the Greeks who increasingly ran out of strength.
Messi wasted another opportunity to score on the 62nd after a pass by Luis Suarez who 10 minutes later tried a bicycle kick but could not find the target. The Uruguayan was unlucky to see his 81st minute effort hit the outside of the crossbar after he ran clear of the Olympiakos defense.
Proto added another great save to his performance on the night in a Messi shot from outside the box in injury time.
Eventually Olympiakos held on for a precious point, its first after four games in the group, but the boost to the team that had disappointed its fans in recent weeks may well have been much more important.
Olympiakos honored Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde for his two very successful spells at the Piraeus club, while the home fans offered a very warm welcome to the Spanish manager, devoting a huge banner to him that read “Ernesto thank you for everything” in Spanish.
Before the game a number of Olympiakos fans attacked two Barcelona supporters outside the stadium and injured them, with one of the latter sustaining head injuries, Greek media reported.
Olympiakos’s next game is on November 21 in Lisbon against Sporting and the Reds need to win to stay in contention for the third place.