Inspired Roberto shines for Olympiakos
By Graham Wood
ATHENS (Reuters) - An inspired Roberto gained sweet revenge on former club Benfica by helping Olympiakos Piraeus earn three precious points in a 1-0 Champions League win on Tuesday.
The Spanish goalkeeper, who left Benfica under a cloud in 2011 after just one season, was the difference between the Group C opponents, making a string of superb saves as the Greek champions held on for victory courtesy of Kostas Manolas's first-half header.
"Roberto was something greater than a saint tonight, maybe only the Pope is more saintly," said delighted Olympiakos coach Michel, who ran across the pitch to congratulate his goalkeeper at the final whistle.
"He had a difficult time at Benfica and sometimes football is unjust like that, then at the next minute you are vindicated, and I believe that is the case with Roberto. He proved his worth with his performance tonight, he really was a tower of strength. It has earned him an invitation to my house this week for dinner."
The Greek champions rode their luck against their Portuguese opponents after taking a 13th-minute lead against the run of play when Greece defender Manolas rose unchallenged to power home a header from Jose Holebas's inch-perfect set-piece.
Benfica enjoyed a wealth of possession throughout the match but could not find a way past Roberto.
Within the first eight minutes the Spaniard had denied Oscar Cardozo with a low diving save before scampering off his line to block Lazar Markovic's goal-bound effort moments later.
He saved from Markovic again in the second half as well as left-back Silvio and substitute Filip Djuricic late on. Continued...