The “Reds” put the pressure early on in the game but the Croatian champions defended successfully. Striker Ben missed two good chances to score, while Seba and Marin missed one each in the first half where the Greek team had 61% ball possession.
Yet it was the Croatian side that managed to score first, when Heber’s shot found the right corner of Kapino’s net in the 42nd minute.
The Greek club came on strong in the second half when Fortounis substituted Seba in the 65th minute. Fresh from the bench, Fortounis gave a great assist to Odjidja who scored the equalizer in the 66th minute.
From then on, Olympiacos seemed determined to turn the game around. The pressure intensified with the addition of Pardo and Androutsos, who replaced Marin and Odjidja respectively.
In the 82nd minute, Rijeka’s Zuta received a second yellow card leaving the Croatian side with ten and forced to retreat on their side of the field. The Greek team hammered Rijeka’s box, with Androutsos’ header hitting Sluga’s bar in the 90th minute.
Olympiacos’ determination and effort paid off in the third minute of extra time, when Sluga fended off a Fortounis free kick, Elabdellaoui returned the ball and stopper Romao put it in the net with a header.
The two teams will meet for the second leg on Tuesday in Rijeka for the “ticket” to the group stage of the Champions League.