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Chelsea beat PAOK in Europa League opener

Greece Soccer Europa League

Chelsea’s Willian celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during a Group L Europa League soccer match between PAOK and Chelsea at Toumba stadium in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

AP

It is six wins from six for Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea manager, with the Premier League side winning 1-0 at PAOK Salonika in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Willian’s early goal was enough to grab the win for a dominant Chelsea side, with Alvaro Morata having several chances but failing to score.

Next up for Chelsea in Group L are Videoton, who they host at Stamford Bridge in two weeks time. PAOK travel to BATE Borisov, who beat Videoton in Hungary in their opening game of the competition.

[ MORE: Europa League standings ] .

Chelsea had the perfect start as Ross Barkley ran free and slipped in Willian brilliantly and the Brazilian finished low under PAOK’s goalkeeper Paschalakis to make it 1-0.

PAOK struggled to recover from that early deficit as Chelsea dominated the ball and Alvaro Morata should have scored a second but he headed Pedro’s cross wide.

Morata then dragged a shot wide of the far post after a clever ball from Antonio Rudiger as Chelsea continued to push PAOK back. Marcos Alonso found Pedro before the break but the Spaniard’s effort was saved by Paschalakis and from the resulting corner Morata headed inches wide.

Right on half time Chelsea were a little lucky not to give away a penalty kick as Barkely looked to pull the shirt of a PAOK attacker in the box.

In the second half Chelsea poured forward in search of a second but Willian blasted over the bar and Alonso’s effort was deflected just wide.

Paschalakis saved Pedro’s shot late on but Chelsea held on for victory in Greece ahead of their London derby at West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday.

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