Giroud’s hat trick send Chelsea to Europa League quarters
By Karel Janicek | The Associated Press03/14/19, 20:20
Olivier Giroud celebrated his 50th European competition game by scoring a hat trick as Chelsea beat Dynamo Kiev 5-0 Thursday to cruise into the Europa League quarterfinals.
Giroud struck early in Kiev in the second leg of the last 16, added his second later in the first half and completed his hat trick in the second half for Chelsea to advance with a massive 8-0 win on aggregate.
Giroud was the third player this season to score three in Europe’s second-tier competition.
Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi also had one apiece for Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Napoli advanced 4-3 on aggregate against last year’s semifinalist Salzburg despite losing the second leg 3-1.
Valencia advanced thanks to an injury-time goal from substitute Goncalo Guedes that secured a 1-1 draw at Krasnodar and a 3-2 aggregate victory.
Later, Arsenal needed to overturn a two-goal deficit against Rennes at the Emirates while five-time champion Sevilla traveled to face Slavia Prague after a surprising 2-2 draw in the first leg last week.
Here’s a look at Thursday’s action:
GIROUD ON TARGET
Giroud made sure Chelsea was in control from the start.
He netted in the fifth minute from close range after a corner kick from Willian landed right in front of him. The two were among the seven changes coach Maurizio Sarri made from a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton in the Premier League on Sunday, a blow to Chelsea’s hopes of making the top four Champions League qualification places.
To win the Europa League is another option to secure a spot in the Champions League for next season.
Sarri didn’t have striker Gonzalo Higuain available because he had a fever after the weekend match and didn’t travel to Ukraine.
But Giroud more than an adequate replacement.
He added his second in 33rd after Alonso set him up with a cross from the left. And in the last move of the first half, Giroud released Callum Hudson-Odoi free on the left to cross for Alonso who tapped in the third.
In the 59th, Giroud rose in the area to head in Willian’s free kick from the right for his ninth goal in nine Europa League matches to top the scoring table.
Giroud also set up Hudson-Odoi’s final goal.
Ahead of the game at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Sarri complained about the quality of the pitch, calling it dangerous for the players but UEFA said the problem was mainly aesthetic and posed no risks.
Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti had to swallow his first loss in the Europa League after winning the previous three games, but it was still enough to advance.
Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik opened the scoring with a volley 14 minutes into the game, putting the overall result beyond doubt. Milik also scored in the 3-0 victory in the first leg last week.
Munas Dabbur answered that one for Salzburg later in the first half for his eight. Substitutes Fredrik Gulbrandsen and Christoph Leitgeb completed the comeback in the second half.
After losing the first leg 2-1 in Spain, Krasnodar looked set to advance on the away goals rule after Magomed Suleymanov gave it a 1-0 lead five minutes from time. But Guedes secured a spot in the last eight for Valencia in the third minute of injury time.