SPORTS

PAOK and Olympiakos lose away battles but not their hopes

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

Yevhen Khacheridi reduced PAOK to 10 men from the 7th minute at Chelsea.

TAGS: Soccer

Olympiakos and PAOK lost on the road at the fifth round of games in the Europa League group stage on Thursday, but could still go through if results go their way in the last round of matches next month.

Olympiakos went down 1-0 at Real Betis, with the score being rather flattering for the Piraeus club. However the result is not so important given that the Reds still need to beat AC Milan by 2-0 or 4-1 in Piraeus in two weeks’ time to advance to the knock-out stages of the competition.

Olympiakos was positive in its approach to the game in Seville over the first half, asking many questions at the host’s defense.

However Betis got the better of the Greek defense at the other end, earning a penalty that Sergio Leon took and Olympiakos keeper Jose Sa parried to safety, before the Spaniards grabbed a goal through a Sergio Canales shot from outside the area on the 39th minute.

The Reds were unlucky not to score when a Costas Fortounis effort was cleared off the goal line, but in the second half Olympiakos was significantly inferior to its host and could have conceded more goals.

PAOK played almost the entire game at Stamford Bridge with a man’s deficit, and predictably suffered a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea.

The red card shown to Yevhen Khacheridi from the 7th minute of the match meant PAOK was reduced to defensive efforts only, but could not prevent Olivier Giroud from grabbing a first-half brace.

In the second half Chelsea scored two more goals with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Alvaro Morata, to compound the Greek league leader’s misery.

Even so PAOK will go through if on December 13 it beats BATE in Thessaloniki and Chelsea downs Vidi in Budapest.

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