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Bordeaux edge out Olympiakos

BORDEAUX, March 18 – Bordeaux squeezed into the Champions League quarter-finals after a tense 2-1 victory over Olympiakos on Wednesday that saw three men sent off.Laurent Blanc’s men were 2-0 up on aggregate and apparently cruising after Yoann Gourcuff’s sublime early free-kick and the second-half dismissal of Olympiakos striker Matt Derbyshire.

But substitute Konstantinos Mitroglou drew the visitors level with a fine opportunistic strike and Bordeaux then lost captain Alou Diarra after he received a second booking.

It made for a jittery final 20 minutes at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, but Marouane Chamakh finally put the tie to bed with an emphatic headed finish in the 88th minute to seal a 3-1 aggregate win.

"We scored the goal but then we shouldn’t have taken any risks," said Bordeaux midfielder Wendel.

"They equalised when it was 10 against 11 and then we had a few problems.

"For the next round, I have no preference. There are great sides like Barcelona, Inter and Manchester (United) who are playing well at the moment.

"With these teams it would be 50-50. If it’s Lyon it’ll be difficult."

Victory extended Bordeaux’s winning run in the competition to seven matches and took the French champions into the last eight of Europe’s top club competition for the first time since 1988.

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The Greek side’s frustrations boiled over in the game’s aftermath, with centre-back Olof Mellberg sent off after the final whistle, but coach Bozidar Bandovic took pride in his side’s performance.

"We scored a goal and we had some chances, I congratulate my players," he said.

"By believing in ourselves a bit more, perhaps things could have gone differently. I ask myself how we managed to concede those two goals but we looked our opponent in the eye."

Olympiakos’s hopes of turning the tie around took a heavy blow in the fifth minute when Gourcuff put his side in front in sensational fashion.

Right-back Vasilis Torosidis was unfortunate to be penalised after Wendel went to ground in his vicinity but Gourcuff was merciless, ripping the ensuing free-kick into the top-right corner from wide on the left.

He almost repeated the trick moments before half-time but, from 20 yards further out, his free-kick fell against the crossbar and bounced onto the right-hand post before being cleared.

Derbyshire thought he’d snatched an equaliser on the stroke of half-time but his adroit close-range volley was ruled out for a marginal offside.

The former Blackburn Rovers forward was then sent off 15 minutes into the second half for jumping in on Jaroslav Plasil after an earlier booking for diving.

Bandovic reacted positively, though, by throwing on striker Mitroglou and within two minutes he had drawn the away side level with a fine half-volley after Bordeaux switched off at a throw-in.

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Ludovic Sane almost hacked Raul Bravo’s cut-back into his own net in the 77th minute, while Chamakh wasted a one-on-one chance before making the game safe with a towering header from Benoit Tremoulinas’s cute left-wing cross.

Gourcuff has struggled for form in recent weeks but his goal emboldened him and he was soon running through his repertoire of elegant pirouettes and searching passes.

A neat flick freed Chamakh for a shot that was straight at Antonis Nikopolidis in the visiting goal, while the Greek veteran alertly saved at Gourcuff’s feet in the 39th minute after the former AC Milan man chased a loose ball into the box.

Jaouad Zairi spurned Olympiakos’s best chance of the first half when he flung himself at Bravo’s left-wing cross but diverted his volley just wide.

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