Updated: Wednesday, 11 December 2013 06:10 | By Agence France-Presse

Saviola the saviour as Olympiakos reach last 16

Former Argentina international Javier Saviola scored twice and missed a penalty as Olympiakos reached the Champions League knockout stages with a 3-1 win over eight-man Anderlecht on Tuesday. 


Saviola the saviour as Olympiakos reach last 16

Olympiakos' Javier Saviola celebrates after scoring at the Karaiskaki stadium in Athens on December 10, 2013

Benfica beat Group C winners Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in Lisbon elsewhere on Tuesday, but the Greek champions' win secured them second place and a berth in the last 16 for the first time since 2010.

Their victory in a dramatic game, which featured three home penalties and three red cards for the visitors, means they edge out Benfica courtesy of a better head-to-head record after both teams finished with 10 points. 

Saviola eased the nerves of the home fans when he broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute by pouncing on a loose ball in the box to fire past 'keeper Silvio Proto. 

Saviola, 31, who ironicially played for Benfica for three seasons and helped the Lisbon club to the domestic double in 2010, made up for an earlier miss by converting David Fuster's initial shot that was deflected into his path. 

However, the Brussels outfit were back on level terms within six minutes thanks to American midfielder Sacha Kljestan. 

The 28-year-old Californian finished off a counter-attack, that evolved from a botched Olympiakos corner, and tucked the ball into an empty goal after an unselfish pass from teenage midfielder Dennis Praet.

Olympiakos, who have yet to lose a league match since former Real Madrid midfielder Michel took over as coach early in 2013, dominated first-half possession and had a golden chance to go back in front just after the break. 

Senegalese centre-back Cheikhou Kouyate was sent-off when he brought down Fuster inside the box, but Saviola's low spot-kick was brilliantly parried away by Proto to keep the visitors on level terms.

Saviola redeemed himself moments later when Fuster again caused panic in the Anderlecht penalty area and he banged home the rebound to put the Greeks 2-1 up with half an hour to play. 

Down to 10 men, the visitors bravely battled on and were relieved to see Saviola substituted to a standing ovation after scoring the crucial second goal. 

Slovakian Vladimir Weiss kept the tension at breaking point when he missed another Olympiakos penalty with 18 minutes left as Proto saved from the spot for the second time in the half. 

It was the first time since 2009 -- when Bordeaux squandered two penalties in a 2-1 win against Bayern Munich -- that a team had missed twice from the spot in the same Champions League fixture.

French full-back Fabrice N'Sakala continued the frustration for the Belgian champions when he was dismissed with two minutes left before Proto was shown a straight red for bringing down Weiss inside the area deep into stoppage time.

Another Argentine, Alejandro Dominguez, finally found the target from the spot to guarantee qualification and put a flattering look on the scoreline. 

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