Burnley 1-1 Olympiakos: Clarets exit Europa League at hands of Greeks

Burnley 1-1 Olympiakos: Clarets exit Europa League at hands of Greeks

The Clarets were beaten 4-2 on aggregate, despite a dominant performance in the second leg at Turf Moor.

Jordan Rushworth
BurnleyHeaton, Bardsley, Long, Mee, Taylor, Lennon, Westwood, Hendrick, McNeil, Vokes, Barnes
SCORE0-1, Min.83, Castelo Podence. 1-1, Min.86, Vydra
REFEREEViktor Kassai (HUN)

Burnley were knocked out of the Europa League by 44-time Greek champions Olympiakos, despite a dominant performance in the second leg at Turf Moor.

The Clarets trailed by two goals, after last weeks 3-1 defeat in Athens, and knew that they needed to score at least two times to make it through to the Europa League Group Stages.

Sean Dyche has consistently made changes throughout Burnley’s European campaign, and made changes again, with seven changes to the side that were beaten 4-2 at Fulham last Sunday.

Tom Heaton, who started the first leg in Greece, was again preferred to Joe Hart, while Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Charlie Taylor, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes all started.

Despite the changes made throughout the European qualification rounds, Burnley had already overcome Aberdeen and Istanbul Basaksehir and remained competitive in most of their European matches.

The only blip came in the second half away to Olympiakos, where they were beaten 3-1 after being reduced to 10 men, despite going in at half-time with the scores level at 1-1.

Clarets start well

Burnley started really well in the opening stages of the second leg at Turf Moor, dominating possession and working their way into some dangerous positions.

The final ball let The Clarets down on multiple occasions, as Burnley’s intensity caused problems for Olympiakos’ defence.

Dyche’s side should have been rewarded for their promising start, as Vokes missed a golden opportunity to half the deficit.

McNeil, who was a constant threat throughout in his full senior debut, delivered an excellent cross, but Vokes’ powerful header was agonisingly wide of the Olympiakos goal.

Vokes had another opportunity to give Burnley the lead on the night but could head the ball over the bar after the ball fell quickly towards him via a deflection of an Olympiakos defender from Ashley Westwood's corner.

Westwood was instrumental in Burnley’s midfield and produced some dangerous balls from midfield.

With just two minutes remaining in the first half Westwood picked out Vokes with a threaded through ball, and Vokes squared the ball to Barnes, whose first time shot under pressure went just past the post.

Podence finishes the tie

Burnley continued to push for a route back into the tie throughout the second half, as they continued to dominate the game, barring a couple of counter attacks from the visitors.

Vokes’ superb curling shot from outside the box came back off the post before McNeil’s powerful strike from outside the area forced a good save from Gianniotis in the Olympiakos goal.

The visitors knew that a goal on the counter would end Burnley’s hopes of getting back into the tie, and they managed to grab that goal through Podence, who finished coolly after a good counter-attack from Olympiakos.

The Clarets, though, continued to attack despite the setback and managed to score a goal that was the least their performance had merited.

Matej Vydra, brought on for Vokes midway through the second half, scored his first Burnley goal, forcing the ball over the line after Ben Mee’s header was blocked following a corner.

Vydra’s goal came too late to give Burnley a chance of extending their first European campaign for 51 years.

However, they can take pride from a dominant performance, in which only missed opportunities cost them a historic comeback.