Olympiakos opened the 2014 International Champions Cup with a 3-0 win over AC Milan in Toronto on Thursday night, getting goals from Alejandro Dominguez, Dimitris Diamantakos and Andreas Bouchalakis.
Milan looked like they might get on the scoreboard early when Stephan El Shaarawy was played in on goal by M’Baye Niang in the fourth minute. But he put his finish right at goalkeeper Roberto. And that would prove to be Milan’s last chance until the dying seconds of the half.
Instead, and running counter to expectations, it was the Greeks who ran the show. They were gifted two solid chances by some shoddy Milan defending but squandered them both. Then, in the 17th minute, Dominguez started an attack by hitting the ball wide. He got it back, chested it down by the penalty spot and half-volleyed it through the crowd and into the far corner of goal, past the helpless Gabriel, to open the score.
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The game settled down somewhat after that, with Olympiakos continuing to make the sounder impression. Arthur Masuaku snapped a surprising shot at Gabriel’s near post from the left wing late in the half, but saw it pushed wide by the goalie for a corner. The tall Thanasis Papazoglou headed hard well, only for Andrea Poli to block and clear the ball off the line.
At length, Bryan Cristante curled a ball to the back post of Olympiakos’s penalty box, right onto the foot of Giampaolo Pazzini. But the striker got his finish all wrong and mis-hit the ball into the stands, rather than on frame, or anywhere near it. And so the Greeks’ half-time lead was deserved.
The second half plot was the reverse, with Milan the better side. But they too, gave up an early chance, and the Greeks didn’t squander it. A splendid long ball out of the midfield relieved pressure and released Masuaku, streaking up the left. He controlled it well and quickly squared it for Diamantakos, the substitute who ran away from his man and across the ball and then deftly poked it past Gabriel to double the score in the 49th minute.
From then on, however, it was mostly all Milan with the danger. Diamantakos had another opportunity. But Riccardo Saponaro deposited the rebound of a shot onto the cross bar. Pazzini then had a shout for a penalty with some merit, although probably not enough to justify the spot kick.
Milan continued taking the initiative and conjuring danger. But the tightly packed-in Greeks surrendered no real chances. Nonetheless, it felt unfair that Olympiakos put a third goal on the board seemingly out of nothing. Bouchalakis took a touch in the 78th minute and ripped a shot into the far upper 90 from some 30 yards out â a majestic and unlikely and unstoppable shot. Olympiakos rode out the game as their fans lit a bonfire in the stands.
And so rookie Milan manager Filippo Inzaghi, who is expected to return his club to the glory and perch atop the international it has relinquished in recent years, got the first loss of his tenure, after two friendly wins against lower league Italian teams. His task, plainly, looms taller than ever.