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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Willian leads Chelsea to victory in Europa League

Londoners continued their perfect start to the season while Premier League rivals Arsenal also win

Chelsea's Willian celebrates scoring their first goal with Ross Barkley. Action Images
Chelsea's Willian celebrates scoring their first goal with Ross Barkley. Action Images

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.

Arsenal, with former Sevilla coach Unai Emery now in charge, defeated Ukraine's Vorskla 4-2 thanks to a double from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and AC Milan edged past Dudelange of Luxembourg 1-0.

Sevilla, the most successful team in Europa League history, crushed Standard Liege 5-1 while Eintracht Frankfurt upset Marseille 2-1.

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.

Aubameyang opened the scoring for Arsenal against Vorskla in the 32nd minute when he converted an Alex Iwobi cross.

Danny Welbeck headed in a centre from Henrikh Mkhitaryan before Aubameyang made it 3-0 with a precise shot from outside the area.

Substitute Mesut Ozil added the fourth goal from close range but Vorskla reduced the arrears thanks to captain Volodymyr Chesnakov and Vyacheslav Sharpar.

For Emery, the Europa League is familiar territory, after he guided Sevilla to its three straight titles earlier this decade.

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.

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 equalised 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.