Captain Willian gives Chelsea victory in Greece

Willian’s goal was enough for Chelsea David McIntyre |

PAOK 0 Chelsea 1


Willian’s early goal gave Chelsea victory in the opening game of their Europa League campaign.

Willian, the Blues’ captain for the night, beat the offside trap to collect Ross Barkley’s lay-off and keeper Alexandros Paschalakis got a hand to the Brazilian’s shot but was unable to keep it out of his net.

Apart from some late pressure from the home side, Chelsea were totally dominant in Greece and had a number of chances to add to their seventh-minute goal.

Alvaro Morata, Andreas Christiansen and Pedro all missed opportunities to double the lead before half-time.

Morata headed Pedro’s cross wide of the target and Christensen was unable to make the most of a free header at the far post after Paschalakis failed to claim a corner.

Morata again struggled in front of goal © AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Morata also fired wide after being found by Antonio Rudiger’s ball over the top.

And Pedro then shot straight at Paschalakis after being put through by Marcos Alonso seven minutes before the interval.

Willian had two chances after the restart but also shot straight at Paschalakis, after being teed up by Barkley’s flick, and blasted over after PAOK were unable to clear Pedro’s cross.

The fit-again Cesc Fabregas came on as a second-half substitute for his first appearance of the season.

But there was no outing for Ruben Loftus-Cheek in a much-changed Chelsea line-up – and not even places on the bench for youngsters Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The evening ended on a negative note when Pedro had to be led away in the final seconds after suffering what looked like a shoulder or arm injury in a nasty collision with Paschalakis.

Chelsea: Kepa, Zappacosta, Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso (Azpilicueta 65),  Jorginho (Fabregas 65), Kante, Barkley, Pedro, Willian, Morata (Giroud 80).
Subs not used: Caballero, Cahill, Loftus-Cheek, Moses.