Berlin, Oct 28 (IANS) Freiburg snatched a late 1-1 draw with Olympiacos at home on Thursday to qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout stages.
Freiburg started dominant on home soil, but it was the visitors that broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when Youssef El-Arabi tapped home Pep Biel’s blocked shot.
Olympiacos should have doubled their advantage, but Giorgos Masouras rounded Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken and hit the side netting instead of the empty goal in the 23rd minute, reports Xinhua.
The visitors kept Freiburg’s defence busy as Nicolas Hofler neutralized El-Arabi’s dangerous cutback with 35 minutes gone.
Freiburg showed signs of life in the closing stages of the first half, but Daniel-Kofi Kyereh couldn’t head home Vincenzo Grifo’s cross into the box.
The hosts had to wait until the hour mark to create their best chance, as Lukas Kubler’s promising shot on target forced Olympiacos keeper Alexandros Paschalakis into action.
As the match progressed, Christian Streich’s side dominated possession and pinned Olympiacos onto the back foot as Kyereh and Niels Petersen tested Paschalakis in quick succession.
Freiburg started an onslaught but neither Matthias Ginter nor Jeong Woo-yeong was able to beat faultless Paschalakis in the closing stages.
Paschalakis was eventually hapless in injury time when Christian Gunter’s corner allowed Kubler to secure a draw on home soil after nodding home the equalizer.
“I am happy that we progressed into the next round. It was a tough game against a clever opponent. We could have been two goals behind in the first half. The boys responded well after halftime and created a lot of momentum to play out a draw,” said Freiburg coach Christian Streich.
Elsewhere, Union Berlin clinched a crucial victory after moving 1-0 past Braga. Robin Knoche scored the only goal of the match after converting a controversial penalty in the second half.