Monday 14 October 2019

Giroud on fire as Chelsea stroll through

Dynamo Kiev 0 Chelsea 5

Hat-trick hero: Olivier Giroud with the match ball after Chelsea’s 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Hat-trick hero: Olivier Giroud with the match ball after Chelsea’s 5-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev. Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

John Percy

It was a playing surface Maurizio Sarri described as a "disaster" before kick-off but Chelsea displayed perfect pitch in the Ukraine to skate into the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

Sarri's players had the cigars out in a thoroughly lop-sided affair, which included a perfect hat-trick from Olivier Giroud, as those pre-match fears over a potential minefield at the Olympic Stadium proved unfounded.

Giroud now has nine goals in this season's Europa League and Chelsea must be the favourites to win the competition. Such an outcome would salvage Sarri's turbulent debut season in English football.

With nine wins and a draw from their ten games in Europe they will be formidable opponents in the last eight, as they bid to repeat their success of 2013.

Chelsea's Calllum Hudson-Odoi scores his side's fifth goal during the Europa League match against Dynamo Kiev. Photo: AP
Chelsea's Calllum Hudson-Odoi scores his side's fifth goal during the Europa League match against Dynamo Kiev. Photo: AP

Crucially, winning this frequently maligned competition will ensure the return of Champions League football and, perhaps, even save Sarri's job.

While Giroud extended his impressive goalscoring run - becoming the first Chelsea player to score a hat-trick away from home in European competition since Didier Drogba in 2006 - there was also another hugely encouraging performance from Callum Hudson-Odoi, who scored the final goal.

"It was a wonderful team performance for 90 minutes," said the Chelsea manager.

"Olivier is a very important player for us, I'm really very happy for him. Every time he has been on the pitch, he has been able to play very well.

"To score after five minutes, for the opponents it was a very difficult situation. We wanted to start in this way because it was really very important to score after the result in Stamford Bridge."

On Hudson-Odoi's seventh Chelsea start, Sarri added: "He played very well - better in the second half because we found the spaces, and Callum in the spaces is a very good player. I'm happy for him but he has to keep the feet on the ground.

Chelsea's Willian in action against Dynamo Kiev's Mykola Shaparenko. Photo: Reuters
Chelsea's Willian in action against Dynamo Kiev's Mykola Shaparenko. Photo: Reuters

"The potential of (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek is also very high. Physically, technically, he is improving. He can become one of the best midfielders not only in England, but in Europe."

This was a cakewalk on a poor frozen surface, and Sarri's warnings over a "dangerous" opponent before the game were surely lost in translation. Dynamo were, quite frankly, terrible.

Alyaksandr Khatskevich, the Dynamo manager, had insisted his team needed a "miracle" to overturn the 3-0 deficit from the first leg, with the Ukranian Premier League's second-placed team failing to register a shot on target at Stamford Bridge.

Any hopes of a monumental shock were over after just five minutes. Willian's corner was flicked on by Loftus-Cheek into a crowded area and Giroud had the task of stabbing the ball home from six yards.

Marcos Alonso also got in on the goal-scoring act before half-time. (© Daily Telegraph, London).

Chelsea's Andreas Christensen in action with Dynamo Kiev's Denys Garmash. Photo: Reuters
Chelsea's Andreas Christensen in action with Dynamo Kiev's Denys Garmash. Photo: Reuters

Telegraph.co.uk

The Left Wing - RWC Daily: Quarter-final fever hits as Ireland gear up for toughest test of all

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport