Full-time: Olympiacos 3 Burnley 1
Burnley have an away goal to take back to Turf Moor next Thursday but there'll certainly be an inquest in to the incidents that led to their demise in Athens.
Boss Sean Dyche had been investigating the Acropolis of Athens, an ancient citadel, prior to the Europa League play-off against Olympiacos, but the real ruins were left by Slavko Vincic at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
The Slovenian official handed Thrylos the first leg on the hour when awarding the home side a soft penalty only to then serve the Clarets a double blow by handing Ben Gibson his marching orders.
It was the club's first serious blot against their disciplinary record in 18 months, when Ashley Barnes was shown a red card against Hull City at the KCOM Stadium, and it was the cruellest set back.
The Clarets went a goal behind in the 19th minute. It wasn't the start they'd have hoped for in Athens but they only had themselves to blame.
Daniel Podence was going nowhere when collecting the ball with his back to goal but Kevin Long's over-exuberrance proved his downfall and the Portuguese winger went to ground.
Kostas Fortounis, the only player present from the home side's final game of the Super League season last term, swept the ball right footed over the wall, beating Tom Heaton at his near post on the skipper's first competitive start in 11 months.
A spell of Olympiacos pressure followed as the 44-time Greek champions looked to stretch their advantage but the visitors had a brief reprieve when Chris Wood hooked the ball over the crossbar from an Ashley Barnes flick on.
Pedro Martins' men carried a huge threat with the three that anchored Spanish striker Miguel Angel Guerrero and two thirds of that trio combined to set up the home side's next chance.
Goalscorer Fortounis did well to open the space up ahead of him and fed the ball to Lazaros Christodoulopoulos but the forward dragged the ball across the face of goal.
Burnley, operating in a 4-4-2 system, with Wood and Barnes the focal point, hadn't threatened Andreas Gianniotis's goal in the opening half an hour but they were gifted an opportunity just after.
There seemed little on when Charlie Taylor guided the ball to Wood on the left hand side of the area but the area nipped in ahead of Mohamed Camara and drew the foul.
Wood stepped up to take the spot kick himself and coolly slotted the ball past Gianniotis, who had guessed correctly.
The former Leeds United striker could have added his second soon after when getting above his marker to meet Johann Berg Gudmundsson's cross but failed to steer his header on target.
Olympiacos, whose seven-season reign domestically ended in 2017/18, demonstrated vehemently when a Fortounis cross struck the arm of Stephen Ward but Vincic ignored the cries, instead booking Christodoulopoulos for his protestations.
Sean Dyche's side were hit with two early second half goals against Watford at Turf Moor at the weekend and they were punished again in Greece.
Long was booked when obstructing Fortounis and the midfielder returned to his feet to whip in another masterful set-piece that Andreas Bouchalakis got on the end of, glancing a header across Heaton and in to the corner.
The Clarets goalkeeper, who last saw action against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, did well to claw on to Fortounis's attempt from the edge of the box soon after but the 25-year-old Greek international would have the last laugh on the hour.
The decision that led to Olympiakos's third was inexplicable, even unforgivable, as he blew up and pointed to the spot for the most dubious of infringements.
Ben Gibson, already on a booking, charged down Camara's effort with the ball clipping his arm. Incredibly, Vincic sounded his whistle, awarded a penalty and gave the defender his marching orders.
To make matters worse, Fortounis sent Heaton the wrong way from the spot and the hosts held a 3-1 lead against 10 men.
Burnley battled bravely as the hosts attempted to rub salt in to the wounds but they struggled to keep Olympiacos at bay.
Heaton denied Podence when the former Sporting CP forward was handed a second bite of the cherry while Guerrero's footwork forced Long and Bardsley to ground, only his finish wasn't quite as impressive.
Substitute Sam Vokes had the ball in the net late on but James Tarkowski, who provided the assist, was correctly adjudged to have been in an offside position from Aaron Lennon's free kick.