The first leg of the Europa League qualifying play-off between Burnley and Olympiacos at Piraeus turned into a violent affair before the match even started. A Burnley fan was stabbed in the leg. Thankfully, the fan did not sustain any serious injury and only needed stitches on the leg. 23 fans were arrested because of being drunk and disorderly.
The club announced the incident on their official website and said that a total of 5 fans were injured.The match itself was not a very pleasing affair for Burnley as they lost 3-1. Olympiacos took the lead in the 19th minute thanks to Kostas Fortounis. However, Burnley were given a penalty and Chris Wood equalized from the spot. At half-time, several Olympiacos personnel confronted the referee.
Just four minutes into the second half, Olympiacos restored the lead thanks to Andreas Bouchalakis. Then, Olympiacos were awarded a penalty in the 60th minute due to a handball from Ben Gibson. Gibson was sent off after receiving a second yellow and Fortounis scored his second of the match. Olympiacos eventually won 3-1.
Following the match, Burnley boss Sean Dyche said that the landscape of the game changed in the second half after the Olympiacos personnel confronted the referee. He said, “After the incident where they tried for a penalty, which wasn’t a penalty, I don’t know how many people ran on the pitch and surrounded the referee and the linesman and the officials. The scenes I saw at half-time from all and sundry around the referee on their side. They were waiting for the referee.
You all saw the feel of the game was different in the second half. You’re left scratching your head.There were plenty of people involved in the tunnel, waiting for the referee to come in and let him know in no uncertain times what they felt. We are given very strict guidelines from UEFA and the Premier League about respect towards the referees and we did what we always do in that we walked straight down the tunnel into our dressing room. It was interesting because there were that many people involved. It wasn’t just the people on the bench, it was all sorts of people from the offices. The tea lady was there at one point! That’s a joke.”
Burnley have an uphill task to do in the home leg on Turf Moor on Thursday.