With goalkeeping heroics, Olympiakos hold Barcelona 0-0

AP , Tuesday 31 Oct 2017

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, center, duels for the ball with Olympiacos players during the Champions League group D soccer match between Olympiakos and Barcelona at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium at Piraeus port, near Athens, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 AP

Olympiakos held Barcelona to a surprise 0-0 draw in the Champions League on Tuesday, denying the visitors early qualification to the round of 16 from Group D.

Lionel Messi was stopped five times by goalkeeper Silvio Proto. The Catalans had two-thirds of the possession and pressed hard for a winning goal to deafening opposition from fans at Karaiskakis Stadium.

The Greek champions defended with real determination, but did little with their counterattacks as they settled for a point against a Barcelona side under their former coach Ernesto Valverde.

Olympiakos captain Alberto Botia, who joined Barcelona as a teenager, was a standout as a sweeper for the hosts, who improved after the break.

Proto kept up his heroics in the second half, saving a shot from Luis Suarez in 72nd minute. A lob from Suarez eight minutes later bounced off the crossbar.

The Belgian 'keeper punched away a free kick from Messi two minutes before the end of regular time and again dived to block a powerful effort by the Argentine in injury time.

Minutes before the final whistle, a young Greek fan ran onto the pitch and hugged Suarez and Messi, before being led off by stewards.

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