Willian leads Chelsea to victory in Europa League
Chelsea maintained its perfect start to the campaign when Brazil forward Willian scored in a 1-0 Europa League victory at PAOK Thessaloniki on Thursday.
Sitting atop the Premier League with five wins from five games, the London club rested Eden Hazard for its opening game in Europe this season after the Belgium playmaker claimed a hat trick in a 4-1 win against Cardiff on Saturday.
Two Chelsea supporters were injured in an attack by suspected local fans shortly before dawn. Police said the two Englishmen were beaten by three assailants in central Thessaloniki.
An ambulance crew provided first aid but the men declined to be taken to hospital. The three assailants escaped and police said the Chelsea fans did not wish to press charges.
Sevilla, the most successful team in Europa League history, crushed Standard Liege 5-1 while Eintracht Frankfurt upset Marseille 2-1.
Arsenal was hosting Ukraine’s Vorskla and Dudelange of Luxembourg was entertaining AC Milan in late games.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s early games:
WILLIAN LIFTS CHELSEA
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri made five changes to his starting line-up against PAOK and his dominant team should have scored a hatful of goals.
The out-of-form Alvaro Morata wasted several chances after captain Willian had finished off a speedy counter attack following good work from Ross Barkley in the seventh minute.
Also in Group L, BATE Borisov of Belarus won at Hungary’s Vidi 2-0.
SEVILLA ON FIRE
Sevilla, Europa League winners in 2014, 2015 and 2016, went ahead in the eighth minute against Standard thanks to a curling free kick by Ever Banega.
Standard leveled through Moussa Djenepo before Franco Vazquez made it 2-1 for the Spanish hosts in the 41st minute. Wissam Ben Yedder added two second-half goals and Banega completed the rout with a penalty.
Also in Group J, Russian club Krasnodar won 1-0 at Turkey’s Akhisar Belediyespor.
LATE EINTRACHT WINNER
Substitute Luka Jovic struck one minute from time as German Cup winner Eintracht Frankfurt came back from a goal down to defeat last year’s Europa League runner-up Marseille 2-1 in a game played behind closed doors in France.
Marseille went ahead in the third minute at the Stade Velodrome as Florian Thauvin crossed from the right for Lucas Ocampos to score.
Frankfurt equalized in the second half through Lucas Torro before Jovic’s late winner.
In the other Group H match, Lazio defeated Apollon 2-1.
Rangers, managed by former England midfielder Steven Gerrard, recovered from conceding a first-minute goal to draw 2-2 at Villarreal, while Rapid Vienna beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 in the other Group G game.
In Group I, Genk defeated Malmo 2-0 and Besiktas eased past newcomer Sarpsborg 3-1.