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Rediff.com  » Sports » Van Persie hat-trick takes Manchester Utd past Olympiakos Piraeus

Van Persie hat-trick takes Manchester Utd past Olympiakos Piraeus

March 20, 2014 05:10 IST

Robin van Persie scores their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Manchester United and Olympiacos FC at Old Trafford Robin van Persie's hat-trick lifted the gloom surrounding Manchester United and manager David Moyes as the English side beat Olympiakos Piraeus 3-0 to overturn a 2-0 first-leg deficit and reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

United, mounting a dismal defence of their Premier League title in Moyes's first campaign since replacing Alex Ferguson, kept alive their last remaining hope of lifting a trophy this season.

Asked to show character by their manager, United responded with Van Persie showing a clinical edge that has been missing of late while the recalled Ryan Giggs was also instrumental on his first start since late January.

Van Persie began the Old Trafford comeback with a 25th-minute penalty, awarded after he had been shoved in the back by Jose Holebas.

The Dutchman levelled the tie on aggregate in first-half stoppage time, steering in Wayne Rooney's cross and Van Persie completed his hat-trick with a free kick six minutes after the break that left Olympiakos keeper Roberto rooted to the spot.

Dortmund advance despite 2-1 loss to Zenit

Borussia Dortmund also reached the quarter-finals, surviving a 2-1 second-leg defeat by a spirited Zenit St Petersburg to go through 5-4 on aggregate.

Dortmund, last year's runners-up who won 4-2 in Russia in the first leg, were far from their best and fell a goal behind when Hulk thundered Zenit into the lead with an unstoppable long-range effort in the 16th minute.

Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl settled the hosts' nerves when he headed in the equaliser in the 38th minute before the visitors retook the lead in the 72nd through substitute Jose Rondon's diving header.

Dortmund held on in a scrappy finale and the 2-1 defeat was enough to send them into the last eight as the second German team along with Bayern Munich.

They were dealt a blow however as defender Marcel Schmelzer suffered a suspected groin injury that could see him join their already long injury list.

Image: Robin van Persie scores their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Manchester United and Olympiacos FC at Old Trafford.

Photograph: Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images