PAOK and Olympiacos opened their Europa League campaigns in disappointing fashion against superior opponents. In Thessaloniki, PAOK was outclassed by Chelsea losing 1-0, while in Piraeus Olympiacos could only manage a goalless draw against Real Betis.
Chelsea captain Willian scored the only goal of the game early in the first half after fine work from Ross Barkley, but it could easily have been much worse for PAOK, who struggled to cope with their English Premier League opponents.
Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea team fully deserved the three points, having controlled the match for long spells with a combination of slick passing and quick direct attacking thrusts lead by the impressive Willian, Pedro and Marcos Alonso.
Olympiacos earned Greece’s first group stage point this season with its 0-0 result against Spain’s Betis at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.
The team from Seville was more dangerous and may feel hard done by the draw in Piraeus.
The Reds had heir moments, but as they were left with 10 men due to the second bookable offense of Costas Tsimikas with 17 minutes left on the clock, they may feel not be too disappointed with the result.