BELGRADE (Reuters) - Former European Cup winners Red Star Belgrade fought back to earn a 3-1 home win against 10-man Olympiakos Piraeus in a pulsating Champions League Group B clash after late headers by Nemanja Milunovic and Richmond Boakye on Tuesday.
Olympiakos dominated the opening half and their striker Miguel Angel Guerrero twice came close before central defender Ruben Semedo fired the Greek side ahead with a fortuitous goal in the 37th minute.
Giorgos Masouras floated a deep free kick into the penalty area and Semedo’s cut-back across the face of goal at the far post went in off the outstretched arm of Red Star goalkeeper Milan Borjan, who should have done better.
After Olympiakos midfielder Yassine Benzia was sent off in the 58th minute for a second bookable foul, Red Star capitalised five minutes later when Milos Vulic drove a crisp low shot from 12 metres into the bottom left corner of the net following some slack defending by the visitors.
Borjan kept out Mohamed Camara’s fierce long-range shot and Yassine Meriah fired wide from close range for Olympiakos before Milunovic and substitute Boakye struck in a frantic finish to delight the home fans.
The goals were almost a carbon copy of each other as Milunovic rose above his marker to head home an 87th-minute corner and Boakye followed in his footsteps three minutes later.
The result lifted Red Star to second place in the group on three points from two games, behind leaders Bayern Munich who have a maximum six after a 7-2 away rout of Tottenhem Hotspur. Olympiakos and Spurs have one point each.
The match was played in a rarely amicable atmosphere as visiting Olympiakos fans were given a red carpet reception by the home supporters, with rival groups mingling before the kick off and chanting each other’s songs during the match.
Bonded by their kindred red-and-white colours as well as the Christian Orthodox faith shared by Serbs and Greeks, Red Star and Olympiakos fans have a long history of friendship and they also exchanged flags in the Rajko Mitic stadium.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar