Barcelona 3-1 Olympiacos: match report
Barcelona shrugged off an early Gerard Pique red card and the distractions of a first match at the Camp Nou since a violent crackdown of an independence referendum in Catalonia to beat Olympiakos 3-1 on Wednesday.
A Dimitrios Nikolaou own goal and second-half strikes from Lionel Messi and Lucas Digne ensured a comfortable evening for the hosts on the field, while the political tension sweeping across Catalonia was seen in the stands despite a low turnout due to torrential rain.
Barca lead Group D with a perfect record from three games, while Juventus remain three points behind thanks to a 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon.
A near 50-metre banner produced by the club called for "Dialogue, Respect, and Sport" before kick-off as Barca continued their plea for both sides of the political divide to reconcile their differences.
Barca's singing section also held up a banner reading 'Freedom for Catalonia', while there were habitual chants in favour of independence in the 17th minute of each half to mark the fall of Catalonia in the Spanish War of Succession in 1714.
Those cries were briefly halted in the first period, though, as Barca went in front in the 18th minute when Nikolaou sliced Gerard Deulofeu's cross into his own net.
Piqué was sent off for slapping the ball into the net two minutes before half-time after picking up an early booking. It left Barcelona with 10-men at a time when they lef just 1-0 and could have been in trouble.
Barca, though, shrugged off their numerical disadvantage as Messi scored his 100th goal in European competition and 97th in the Champions League on the hour mark.
The Argentine dinked a free-kick towards goal, but needed the help of a poor effort from Olympiakos 'keeper Silvio Proto, who merely helped the ball on its way into the net.
Messi was involved again for Barca's third three minutes later as his cutback was drilled home by Lucas Digne.
Olympiakos pulled a goal back a minute from time as Nikolaou made amends for his earlier error with a towering header, but the Greeks remain rooted to the bottom of group without a point.
Barcelona 3-1 Olympiacos live stream online: full time
90' Game over! It was beyond doubt before the final whistle though.
89' Elabdellaoui booked for a foul on Suarez. He caught him from behind on the ankle.
89' GOAL! Olympiacos with their first effort on target. Nikolaou with the header and it loops over Ter Stegen, who has no chance.
87' Messi puts Suarez through and he hunts it down but Proto is out to break it up. He caught the striker on the shin too and it looks like a sore one.
86' Rakitic cross finds Paulinho's head. Caught by Proto.
84' Olympiacos with some possession now down the left but they're exhausted and they still can't get a shot away. Barcelona not with the ball anymore but still controlling this game.
80' Ter Stegen not been forced to make one save tonight. The visiting side have only had one shot off target. And that is with a man down for most of the game.
78' Gomes comes on for Busquets.
76' Mascherano with a long ball over the top to Sergi Roberto. Too much on it as it goes out of play. Andre Gomes warming up now as Valverde's last sub.
73' The sting, if there ever was any, gone out of Olympiacos' game. Barcelona just controlling the tempo of things at the moment.
70' Rakitic flicks it into the box. He finds Paulinho who eases it into Messi's path. He battles with the keeper for it and eventually puts it out over the sideline.
67' A rest for Iniesta as he is replaced by Rakitic.
64' GOAL! That's it definitely out of reach now. Lucas Digne strikes low and hard into the bottom corner. Messi the protagonist again.
And Juventus and Sporting are currently drawing 0-0 so two rivals in their group dropping points mean Barcelona in an authoratitive position in Group D.
63' Olympiacos had never really gotten into the game but they were looking slightly more dangerous in the second half with the man advantage. That goal puts this one, you would think, out of reach!
61' GOAL! Messi eases Barcelona's nerves with a goal from a free-kick. He curls it over the wall and Proto gets a hand to it but he can direct it into the roof of the net.
59' Messi upended again by Nikolaou this time. He gets a booking.
57' Luis Suarez with the funniest dive you'll see. He was expecting contact, to be fair, and it never came but he threw himself to the ground. He eventually won the corner from it after working hard.
55' A chance for Olympiacos. Cross into the box takes a deflection off Sergi Roberto and beats a couple of Barca defenders as it dribbles across the goal. That ball was crying out for someone to just tap it into the back of the net.
53' Iniesta fouled by Elabdellaoui. He was all over his back and the ref eventually gives the free.
51' Messi looked to have been fouled but ref doesn't give it. Olympiacos break and Umtiti cuts out a cross.
50' Suarez with a chance that Digne delivers into the box. He scuffs it and it goes up into the air where he collides with the keeper. Free to the goalie and Suarez can't understand why.
48' Olympiacos already looking more enterprising.
46' And we are back underway!
46' Deulofeu sacrificed for Pique's sending off and Mascherano comes on.
45' No time for the change. Half-time at the Camp Nou and Barcelona head towards the tunnel with the lead.
45' Hasn't changed anything yet. Mascherano will come on now but it looks like Valverde will be forced to wait until half-time.
43' That should free Olympiacos up slightly but Barcelona were so dominant that I'm not sure if it really does.
41' Messi's ankle chopped by Botia and he stays down. He eventually gets up to take the free. It goes out to Deulofeu and he drives a shot towards Pique and he handles the ball into the back of the net. Second yellow!
40' Olympiacos have serious issues down their right hand side. Another cross arrives in from Deulofeu. Another one batted away by the visitors. It's only a matter of time before Barca get on the end of one of those.
37' Messi strikes, sees it saved and then wins it back, crosses and the visiting side get it away again.
35' Olympiacos with a rare sight of Barcelona's goal. Odjidja-Ofoe ends up striking, not too far away, from Ter Stegen's top corner. Barcelona back in possession now.
33' Messi puts it on a plate for Suarez and Proto saves. Corner but that's a really bad miss from the Uruguayuan. A chance he'd usually bury.
30' Deulofeu does really well to win the back back in the penalty area, keep it and then win a corner. Barcelona well on top here and Olympiacos in all sorts of trouble.
29' Free for Barcelona as Messi looks to swing one in. He does and Busquets meets it at the front post but he can't direct it towards goal.
27' Paulinho sets up Messi this time with a header. Messi strikes and he sees his shot blocked. Olympiacos struggling to get out of their own half.
26' Messi chests down a ball inside and lays it off to Deulofeu. He strikes and it takes a slight deflection off an Olympiacos defender. Corner.
25' Paulinho heads off the bar. Iniesta lobs a perfect cross his way and he loops it over the keepers and onto the crossbar.
24' Ball nicked off Messi's toe as Deulofeu tees him up at the edge of the square.
22' Paulinho has it in the back of the net but Iniesta strayed offside when Suarez' initial pass to him was blocked.
21' Cross arrives and Ter Stegen reads it and intercepts.
20' Deulofeu drives a shot towards goal. Proto saves and sends it out for a corner.
18' GOAL! Or own goal to be precise. Deulofeu sends a cross into the box, a low and tame one and it strikes Nikolaou as he tries to clear and beates Proto.
17' Paulinho strikes just over the bar from outside the box.
16' Long ball over the top to Androutsos but he's offside. He tells his teammate to deliver it earlier.
13' Deulofeu cross goes out for a throw. Barcelona with a chance to press Olympiacos up high again. They do, and they win it back.
11' Pique booked for stopping Odjidja-Ofoe. absolutely ridiculous foul by the defender as he grabs him and nearly rips his jersey. Very cynical.
10' Odjidja-Ofoe with a rash tackle now on Busquets. He throws him out of the way after he has passed backwards. He talks his way out of a yellow but ref says that the next one will be a booking.
8' Messi the latest to go down under a rash tackle by Olympiacos.
8' Gillet fouls Paulinho and another chance for Barcelona to cause problems.
7' Odjidja-Ofoe looks to set Carcela-Gonzalez away but Digne does well to get between the attacker and the ball.
5' Suarez meets the corner that was flicked on at the back post and hits it wide. So close to the opener. Dominant from Barcelona early on.
5' Sergi Roberto with an absolutely perfect pass to Messi in behind the defense. He cuts back and Olympiacos scramble it out for a corner.
3' Some very early pressure from Barca.
3' Messi free hits the wall and Silvio arrives out, way out, of his box to clear.
2' Sergi Roberto links up with Deulofeu and the former gets taken down by a combo of Olympiacos players. Free outside the box and slightly to the right.
1' We are underway!
The two teams come together with #EQUALGAME props and then head back to their corners!
A big banner is revealed in the Camp Nou. DRE - Dialogue, Respect, Sport, it says.
Teams in the tunnel and get ready to appear on the field and into the torrential rainfall.
Barcelona trying to keep their unbeaten streak going under Ernesto Valverde. Juventus and Sporting play each other at the same time and with at least one of them dropping points, it means Barcelona can move into a fairly dominant position at the top of Group D.
Paulinho declared yesterday that he likes being beside Messi and has no problem doing the running for him. He has a full ninety to run tonight as he too gets a start!
Digne gets a somewhat rare start instead of Jordi Alba. He hurt himself yesterday during training and they're not sure how long he'll miss. Sergi Roberto also makes the starting XI after a very impressive display against Atletico Madrid in the Wanda on Saturday night.
it's absolutely lashing rain at the Camp Nou as the presenters huddle under umbrellas.
Olympiacos XI: Proto, Botía, Romao, Odjidja, Gillet, Elabdellaoui, Koutris, Androutsos, Carcela-González, Nikolaou, Zdjelar
Leo Messi can write his name in the history books at Camp Nou this evening with the Argentinean wizard one goal shy of bringing up his centry in European competition. Cristiano Ronaldo has already achieved the feat of course but Messi's strike ratio is slightly better.
If you're unsure about what time this game kicks off in your part of the world, do not worry. As usual we like to help so here's our handy guide which also includes alternative viewing options to our live feed, although with Robbie in the hotseat this evening, why would you go anywhere else?
Hello and welcome to our build up to Barcelona vs Olympiacos in Group D of the Champions League. We'll be bringing you all the latest team news and other interesting information right up until kick off at 20:45 CEST.
Barcelona vs Olympiacos live stream online: match preview
The second night of the third group matches sees us return to the Camp Nou for the first time since the closed-doors LaLiga match against Las Palmas. Tonight we’ll hope to see a stadium packed to the rafters as FC Barcelona look to maintain their 100% record in the competition against an Olympiacos side struggling to get going in their domestic league.
Ernesto Valverde will have fond memories of the visitors to his new home tonight after two spells with the Greeks where he won three league titles. But that will not take any of the focus off the job in hand: a win, three points, and consolidation of their top spot in the group.
It should be remembered that Barça started the 2017/18 campaign under a cloud of uncertainty but until a stalemate against Atlético Madrid at the weekend had blown all that away with only wins defining their LaLiga and Champions League record. And the opening group game victory over Italian giants Juventus was so convincing that the rest of Europe’s elite sat up and took notice. If Olympiacos are looking for some positivity to cling onto ahead of this match they’ll not want to be reminded that the Catalan side have not lost at home in the Champions League since May 2013 – winning 20 of the 22 games.
Although Valverde may be tempted to rotate his squad given the relative strengths of these sides he’ll not want to be seen to be complacent so early in the season, and can likely rest players in the final game or two once top spot is secured. This should mean a Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez frontline which could well include Gerard Deulofeu as a third, with possession certainly favouring the home team. Andre Gomes was given a chance to impress against Atlético but having failed to do so could drop back to the bench.
Losses to both Sporting and Juventus and now two games against Barcelona have already made Olympiacos’ hopes of making it out of the group an almost impossibility. Their best hope will be a third place finish and an extended adventure in the Europa League but form – and that home loss to Sporting in the opening game - suggests that they should just enjoy this year’s experience and focus on getting back into the competition through their league position next year. And even that isn’t looking promising.
With just three wins in their opening seven league games, the third coming on Saturday against Panionios in a 4-3 thriller, many questions are being asked of last season’s Greek champions. And their form against Spanish opposition doesn’t make for good reading. This will be their 15th away game versus a team from LaLiga and they are yet to register a win, and only twice managing to take home a point. Doing so tonight would surprise all but the most optimistic of followers of Takis Lemonis’ side.
The good news lies in the fact that Lemonis is not facing any major injury problems as he looks for a strong showing at one of world football’s iconic stadiums. Ben Nabouhane is out injured while Pardo, Romao and Fortounis are all set to chase in midfield. Some hope will also be placed on the shoulders of Karim Ansarifard to use some muscle memory after his two goals at the weekend. Chances will be few and far between.
Barcelona vs Olympiacos live online: betting odds
The home side are massive favourites so if you have any inkling that Olympiacos can pick up the three points that's where the value is, with a price around 25/1. Another scenario could be Barça leading at half time, then taking their collective feet off the gas and throwing the points away. A €10 bet on that would return €1,000. Of course, there are plenty of bets on just how Barça will win!