Good evening folks, and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of tonight's Champions League
Group A clash between Olympiacos and Malmo!
The Greek champions currently sit three points behind second-placed Juventus in the group, and put simply, they must win tonight if they are to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition.
Aside from winning against Malmo, Olympiacos must also hope that Juventus lose their game against Atletico Madrid this evening. If those permutations are achieved, then the Piraeus outfit will go through at the expense of the Bianconeri.
Malmo, on the other hand, know that a place in the second round of the Champions League is out of their reach, but a victory at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium this evening against the hosts would see them leapfrog their opponents and clinch a spot in the Europa League.
The team news are now coming through...
OLYMPIACOS STARTING XI: Jimenez, Abidal, Botia, Masuaku, Fuster, Ndinga, Maniatis, Kasami, Elabdellaoui, Mitroglou, Dominguez
MALMO STARTING XI: Olsen, Tinnerholm, Helander, Konate, Ricardinho, Adu, Halsti, Forsberg, Thelin, Rosenberg, Eriksson
OLYMPIACOS SUBS: Megyery, Siovas, Avlonitis, Bouchalakis, Afellay, Benitez, Diamantakos
MALMO SUBS: Azinovic, Concha, Kroon, Rakip, Cibicki, Thern, Mehmeti
The Greek champions rested nine players for their Super League game against PAS Giannina FC three days ago, but they're back to their strongest side this evening, with the exception of Jimmy Durmaz and Luka Milivojevic who are nursing thigh and knee problems respectively.
Just one change for the visitors this evening. Defender Erik Johansson is absent through suspension, so 20-year-old Pa Monodou Konate takes his place.
's side will surely be fancying their chances this evening at the Georgios Karaiskakis - they have done well on home turf in the Champions League this season, with two wins out of two.
The Swedish champions, meanwhile, have already beaten Olympiacos this season, earning a 2-0 victory in the reverse tie back in October, but they travel to Greece having lost both of their away games in this season's group phase.
Tonight's hosts are also a little off the pace in the Greek Super League, four points off the top spot after they lost 2-1 to current leaders PAOK in midweek and surrendered a lead in the 88th minute to draw 2-2 at home to PAS Giannina on Saturday.
As for Malmo, their domestic season finished just over two weeks ago, as they wrapped up back-to-back titles on November 1 and beat Halmia in the Swedish Cup on November 15. Will they be rested, or rusty? Just under quarter of an hour to find out!
Just a reminder of the Group A table standings ahead of the final match day - Atletico Madrid are top with 12 points, Juventus in second with nine, while Olympiacos are third on six and Malmo bottom on three. But as previously discussed, there's still a lot at stake here this evening.
The Georgios Karaiskakis is packed this evening, the crowd a sea of red and white. Just five minutes left until kickoff, and then 90 minutes to determine whether the 41-time champions of Greece will reach the knockout stages of the Champions League, switch to the Europa League, or get knocked out of Europe altogether this season.
All four teams in Group A have something to play for tonight. Atletico want to top the group and get a more favourable draw in the second round, Juve and Olympiacos are still not assured of qualification to the knockout stages, while Malmo will want to continue to be involved in Europe this season.
The anthems have been sung, the handshakes are taking place, the stadium is singing, and kickoff is imminent!
Stephane Lannoy of France is the referee for this evening.
Rosenberg struck a mammoth 23 goals in the Swedish top league this season - will he get a few more and help Malmo to the Europa League?
KICKOFF! The referee gets us underway! Here we go!
The whistle is blown as Dominguez falls to the floor as he attemps a flick-on. He's limping a tad, but seems to be ok.
Olympiacos have had the brighter start and push forward once again, with El Abdellaoui whipping a cross from the right flank, but it's calmly headed back to the Malmo keeper.
CHANCE! The first effort of the game comes courtesy of Fuster, who tries his luck from 25 yards, but his shot is weak and is easily collected by Olsen in the Malmo goal.
The visitors have just had a foray into their opponents' final third, but it's come to nothing. Tentative probings now from both sides, with plenty of long balls being struck.
Now Malmo have to defend a corner. Dominguez takes it short, but it's thwarted. The Swedes attempt an audacious through-ball, but it's easily defended.
CHANCE! From the right flank, the hosts push forward through Dominguez, whose cutting pass into the box is stopped by Olsen. Kassami gets onto it, but the Malmo keeper saves wonderfully! Great double save and the Swedes are let off.
CHANCE! It's opened up nicely here at the Georgios Karaiskakis. Ricardinho tests Olympiacos' defence with a long throw from the right, but the hosts clear and Mitroglou soon heads wide at the other end. He was offside, though.
The Greek champions are making the most of the right wing, with some dangerous crosses and plays causing havoc in the Malmo back line. However, it's goalless so far.
Massouaku dispossesses Ricardinho, but wasn't able to build on it, and the away side clear. Olympiacos are looking very dangerous coming forward, Malmo looking shaky at the back.
The visitors are now asking more questions of the Olympiacos defence, mind. Eriksson tries a through-ball for Forsberg, but it's just too heavy.
CHANCE! The hosts are awarded a free kick in a great position, with Dominguez's set piece curling dangerously towards the far post. Bottia is in space and tries a diving header, but it's just a yard or so wide.
El Abdellaoui and Konate bustling down the wing, with the Swedish youngster forcing a corner. Massouako takes, but a header from a Malmo defender forces the ball out into touch.
GOAL! OLYMPIACOS 1-0 MALMO (FUSTER)
And the deadlock is broken at the Georgios Karaiskakis! A long throw from the left causes no end of trouble in the Malmo box. Kasami keeps it alive with a headed flick-on, and Fuster bundles it in at the far post to send the crowd into a frenzy! He appeared to get injured in the process for his troubles, but he's able to continue.
BOOKING: The game is hotting up now, with Malmo stepping it up a gear. Eriksson is shown a yellow for a lunge on Kasami on the touchline.
Now Kasami finds himself in the thick of it after a sliding challenge on Thelin. However, the foul goes unpunished.
BOOKING: Maniatis now finds himself on the ground following Adu's tackle from behind, right on the Achilles. The Malmo man is booked. It's getting very feisty here.
More attacking intent from Olympiacos as Dominguez charges into the box from the left flank and tries to cut back for Mitroglou, but Adu is alert to clear the threat.
CHANCES! Kasami, probing forward from the left flank, sends a wonderful lofted ball into the box towards Mitroglou, but the former Fulham man fails to connect properly and skews it wide. Moments later, Dominguez drives forward and tries a shot from about 20 yards, but the Malmo stopper is able to save.
The visitors have a rare foray into the home side's final third, with a free kick curled into the box, but Jimenez jumps up high and punches the ball away. Gets clattered in the process too, prompting the referee to halt play.
CHANCE! My, that was close! From a Malmo throw in, Ndinga connects badly with his head in the box and nearly sends the ball into his own goal!
Malmo are enjoying a very lively spell here, to the vociferous sound of boos from the home crowd. Pressure from Forsberg down the touchline prompts a desperate clearance from Olympiacos to gift the Swedes another corner.
CHANCE! Now that would have been some goal! From a corner whipped into the box from the left-hand side, the ball ricochets among the crowd of players before Thelin attempts an overhead kick, which flies just over!
But here come Olympiacos, who threaten down the left flank courtesy of Masuaku, but his attempt at a cross is blocked and the ball flies into the hands of Olsen.
It's end-to-end stuff here as Malmo drive forward once again and force yet another corner. It's whipped from the right and causes trouble, but the visitors are once again not able to make the most of it before Jimenez claims.
The referee indicates one minute of stoppage time.
HALF TIME: OLYMPIACOS 1-0 MALMO
So the half-time whistle blows and it's a case of so far so good from Olympiacos, who are edging Malmo 1-0 at the Georgios Karaiskakis. However, Juventus and Atletico Madrid are goalless at the break in their game in Italy, which means that as things stand, the Old Lady will sneak through to the knockout stages of the Champions League at the expense of the Greek champions, who would have to settle for the Europa League.
Michel's charges were dominant up until about the 35th minute, but Malmo had several chances to score in the latter stages. Possession is fairly even, with the hosts enjoying 52 per cent of the ball. It's pretty hard to call the second half, never mind what will happen at the Juventus Arena.
That said, Malmo have been toothless in front of goal, never truly testing Jimenez. Zero chances on goal for the Swedish champions, whose best effort was actually from the head of opposition player Ndinga!
The second half is about to kick off... it's all still on a knife-edge here. After a feisty first half, will it be more of the same? Only one way to find out... stay tuned to Sports Mole
© Getty Images
KICKOFF: And we're back underway here.
CHANCE! Fuster marauds down the right flank and cuts through for Mitroglou, but the ex-Fulham man's effort, struck with the outside of his foot, draws a great save by Olsen!
CHANCE! From the resulting corner, pressure leads to a free kick just outside the area, which Dominguez takes and strikes the wall. The move ends with a header from Botia that floats just wide.
CHANCE! Masuaku collects the ball just outside the box and strikes a low shot which bobbles a handful of times. Olsen opts for safety first and makes a diving save, before the resulting corner comes to nothing.
Malmo are starting to find their feet, as a high cross is played from the right wing towards Rosenberg, but Jimenez claims.
The visitors will really need to step it up, as they have been rather meek so far in the game. Olympiacos have had 11 chances, six of them on target. Malmo have had three, with none on target.
Forsberg tries his luck with a shot on the turn from the right flank that drifts wide of Jimenez's right-hand post.
SUBSTITUTION: It's a tactical change for the visitors as Pa Konate is replaced by Simon Kroon.
Kasami is fouled on the left flank, giving Olympiakos the chance to send men forward for a set-piece. It's cleared without too much trouble though, but now the hosts have a corner.
GOAL! OLYMPIACOS 1-1 MALMO (SIMON KROON)
Now that was a stunning counter-attack! From the aforementioned corner, Malmo break, with Forsberg marauding down the right-hand side, before playing a great pass through to substitute man Kroon, who finishes off the move by firing home past Jimenez just two minutes after coming on!
CHANCE! But now Olympiacos push forward again and force a corner, with the ball breaking to Maniatis from the set piece, but he is off balance as he shoots and blazes over.
GOAL! OLYMPIACOS 2-1 MALMO (ALEJANDRO DOMINGUEZ)
What a strike! And the hosts are back in front, the pendulum swinging back their way! From the edge of the area, the Argentine strikes a sumptuous half-volley which curls and soars past Olsen into the net!
Malmo have just over 20 minutes, plus stoppage time, to try and find two goals if they want to at least make the Europa League. But Olympiacos are still holding out for an Atletico goal in Turin! It's hotting up for sure!
CHANCE! And the home side almost extend their lead as Mitroglou fires a powerful shot just over the bar from 20 yards. Great cut-back from Masuaku on the left flank here, and the Greek champions are smelling blood.
BOOKINGS: The game has developed into a great display of attacking football, open-ended and high-octane, and with some crunching tackles to boot. Helander goes into the book after fouling Dominguez, before Halsti brings down Kasami to also earn himself a yellow.
El Abdellaoui surges forward and takes control of the ball down the right-hand side following a diagonal cross, but unfortunately for him, he loses footing and slides to the ground, with the Malmo defence ushering the ball out for a goal kick. Still gets applause from the crowd for sheer effort, mind.
Tinnerholm fires from distance, but goalkeeper Jimenez is able to watch the ball fly over the bar. Moments later, Magnus Eriksson is withdrawn and replaced by Simon Thern
SUBSTITUTION: Ibrahim Afellay
enters the fray for the hosts, with opening scorer David Fuster
CHANCE! Olympiacos want to make sure of a win today as they continue to push forward, and it's the latest sub Afellay, who marauds into the box and lets rip with a shot that forces a save from Olsen.
GOAL! OLYMPIACOS 2-2 MALMO (MARKUS ROSENBERG)
And the Swedish champions are back into it! It's effectively a carbon copy of their first one, as a counter-attack explodes down the right flank courtesy of Tinnerholm, before the ball is whipped towards Rosenberg, who clinically prods home to level proceedings!
SUBSTITUTION: Pawel Cibicki replaces Isaac Thelin for Malmo.
CHANCE! Both sides are really going for it, it's just constant end-to-end action here! Dominguez's free-kick is met by N'Dinga, but his header is easily saved. Moments later, Mitroglou is left unmarked to meet a delivery from the right, but the header proves weak!
GOAL! OLYMPIACOS 3-2 MALMO (KOSTAS MITROGLOU)
Late, late drama here at the Georgios Karaiskakis, and Olympiacos surely will not let it go now! From a corner, a headed flick-on by Boita lands nicely for the on-loan Fulham man, who smashes home from close range to put the hosts back into the lead for the third time in this game!
GOAL! OLYMPIACOS 4-2 MALMO (IBRAHIM AFELLAY)
Well, Olympiacos have done their job as they wrap up the game courtesy of Afellay! Malmo were stretched as they tried to push forward, and the hosts countered brilliantly, Kasami setting up the substitute who poked home with ease.
But on the flip side, the game between Juventus and Atletico Madrid has finished, and it's a goalless draw. Olympiacos will be in the Europa League come the New Year. What a shame for them because they put in so much effort tonight.
RED CARD! Malmo, whose season is now over, are reduced to ten men as Adu picks up a second yellow card. The midfielder caught Kasami with a high tackle and heads off for an early bath, while the injured man is also taken off the field, having to be carried off on a stretcher.
FULL TIME: OLYMPIACOS 4-2 MALMO
It's all over at the Georgios Karaiskakis, and what a pulsating game this was. It ends 4-2 to Olympiacos, but sadly for them, Juventus and Atletico Madrid's goalless draw in Turin means that the latter two sides are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League at the expense of the Greek champions, who will now be in the Europa League. Malmo, meanwhile, see their season draw to a close.
Malmo duly stepped it up in the second half and gave their opponents a great game, with their goals proving to be pure counter-attacking masterclass. You have to feel for both of tonight's competitors, who put on such an exhibition.
Well, that's all we have time for here, but don't go anywhere, for Sports Mole is to bring you all the reaction from tonight's Champions League games, as well as extended analysis and player ratings for each of the matches. And of course, tomorrow we will do it all again as the group stages of Europe's premier footballing tournament come to an exhilarating close! Thank you for joining us and good night!