Pardo leads Olympiakos to 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb
PIRAEUS, Greece (AP) — Substitute Felipe Pardo kept Olympiakos on track for a place in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday, scoring twice in the second half for a 2-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Defensive Dinamo had gone ahead with a header from Armin Hodzic in the 21st minute, and kept the hosts at bay when goalkeeper Eduardo blocked a penalty by Kostas Fortounis in the 54th, with the Greek striker fumbling the rebound.
But Pardo scored with his first touch in the 65th, curling the ball past Eduardo with his left foot after Ideye Brown slipped past defenders and set him up for the shot.
The Croatian side then lost Josip Pivaric to a second yellow card with 11 minutes remaining, and things soon went from bad to worse for the visitors.
With a minute left on the clock, Pardo handed Olympiakos its third straight Group F win when the Colombian met a pass from Fortounis with another left-foot strike.
Olympiakos is now level on nine points with group leader Bayern Munich, which crushed Arsenal 5-1. Dinamo and Arsenal are both six points behind the leaders with two games to play.
“It’s a highlight of my career so far. We had to really fight for this and we got it — a big step to making the next round,” the 25-year-old Pardo said. “I got the opportunity to turn the game. I did it for my great teammates... they were flagging after that penalty miss.
“We’ve never had three wins in a row in the Champions League,” he added. “But we haven’t finished the job yet.”
Former Olympiakos player Paulo Machado returned to Piraeus’ Karaiskaki Stadium with Dinamo and was disappointed that his side squandered its lead.
“I think we could have won it,” he said. “We were strong in the first half and controlled a lot of the game. But they got the goals and that’s the way the match went.”
Wednesday’s match was played without away fans following an agreement between the two clubs over fears of crowd trouble.
“We couldn’t hold on ... credit goes to Olympiakos for turning the game,” said Dinamo coach Zoran Mamic, whose side lost 1-0 in the home fixture against the Greek team last month. “We lost our chances against Olympiakos in Zagreb and tonight.”