PIRAEUS, Greece (AP) – Kostas Mitroglou and Ibrahim Afellay scored late goals to grab a 4-2 win for Olympiakos over Malmo in the Champions League Tuesday.
The Greeks finished third in Group A for a place in the Europa League, after struggling to break down the hard-working Swedes, who finished last in the group that also included Atletico Madrid and Juventus.
“It was a great match and all the players should to be congratulated. We got the win and we deserved it,” Olympiakos captain Giannis Maniatis said.
Malmo started the match with an attacking mindset at Karaiskaki Stadium but fell behind in the 22nd minute when Pajtim Kasami headed a pass to David Fuster who also headed the ball to score.
Substitute Simon Kroon levelled on a counterattack in the 59th, with a one-touch strike off a pass from the right by Emil Frosberg. But the Greeks were back in the lead four minutes later courtesy of Chori Dominguez who beat goalkeeper Robin Olsen from the edge of the area.
Markus Rosenberg made it 2-2 with a near-identical counterattack in the 81st, before Olympiakos struck twice in the final three minutes – through Mitroglou from close range and Afellay, who punished a tired Swedish defence in injury time.
Malmo finished the game with 10 men, after Enock Adu was sent off for a second booking.
Michel Gonzalez, the Olympiakos coach, appeared relieved with the night’s performance following a run of disappointing results in the Greek league.
“We’re very happy with this victory and happy to give something to the fans. It’s not a question of this result making it more calm. What we need to do is to keep playing the way we did tonight, as a team.”
Malmo midfielder Magnus Eriksson said the Swedes were both proud and disappointed with their run in the Champions League.
“It was a tough game,” he said. “But if you let your opponent score four times, you can’t win a match in the Champions League.”
Malmo pulled off a 2-0 win against the Greeks at home in October, but on Tuesday coach Age Hareide praised his opponents as the better team.
“The difference was their experience at this level. We made mistakes … and you can’t do that against a team like this,” he said.