Piraeus (Greece), Sep 21 (IANS) Real Betis and Olympiacos played a goalless draw in a match in which the Spanish football club controlled possession and had numerous scoring chances.
Betis, which is back in the Europa League after a five-year absence, showcased its precision passing game in midfield in the early going at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium here on Thursday and that led to some forays into Olympiacos’ area and chances to score, reports Efe.
Giovani Lo Celso’s curving shot, however, barely missed the mark and Sergio Leon’s header off a cross from defender Antonio Barragan went straight to goalkeeper Andreas Gianniotis.
It was the home side though that created the best scoring chance of the first half.
On the play, midfielder Kostas Fortounis took possession of the ball and dribbled into Betis’ area before serving a pass to an unmarked Daniel Podence, but the Portuguese winger telegraphed his shot and made it easy for Real Betis net minder Joel Robles to deflect it away.
Both sides then had opportunities at the start of the second half that they were unable to convert.
Robles closed quickly to deny Giannis Fetfatzidis at around the penalty spot, and then at the other end of the field Loren Moron was unable to get his head on a well-placed cross by Joaquin.
Olympiacos was left short-handed in the 73rd minute when defender Kostas Tsimikas was sent off for a second yellow card, but the hosts managed to overcome the adversity thanks in large part to the ineffectual play of second-half Betis substitutes Takashi Inui and Sergio Canales.
The visitors had one final chance for a late winner, but neither Antonio Sanabria nor Loren was able to put home a cross by Cristian Tello.
Betis and Olympiakos (one point apiece) are currently tied for the second place in Group F of the Europa League, Europe’s second-tier club soccer competition.