Chelsea made sure of their place in the Europa League quarter-final with a 5-0 destruction of Dynamo Kiev after their 3-0 first-leg home win.
Goals for Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi, along with a perfect Olivier Giroud hat-trick, made for the Blues’ biggest ever Europa League victory.
It was always going to need a monumental effort from the home side to qualify and that task was made all-but impossible just five minutes in as Giroud met Alonso’s near-post flick-on to direct it into the back of the net. Not only did that momentarily silence the rowdy Ukranian supporters but it gave the visitors the freedom to go out and play exciting, expansive football.
It was all Chelsea after the goal but the Kiev defence, aided by their goalkeeper, stood strong to avoid the early onslaught. However, the relentless pressure paid off as they were breached again as the game passed the half an hour mark thanks to the Blues’ French frontman. He was left with a simple task thanks to a great ball from Alonso, yes him again, who put the ball on a sixpence for Giroud who would have struggled to have missed.
Denys Boyko, the hosts’ keeper, was doing everything in his powers to keep the score as low as possible but after a great save, he found himself picking the ball out of his net for the third time in 45 minutes. Alonso, the provider of the opening two, got one for himself with a simple tap-in following a great low cross from Hudson-Odoi.
It was the half of football that Sarri would have been dreaming of prior to kick-off after the recent uncertainty concerning his position as manager and his players ensured it would continue in the second period.
Although, it was the home side who almost had the ball in the net within five minutes of the restart as they were denied by Kepa and then the post, which did a great job of preserving Chelsea’s clean sheet. But just like that, Giroud completed his hat-trick and made it 4-0, diverting a pinpoint Willian free-kick back across Boyko and into the net. Not only did it finish off his perfect treble, the goal saw the World Cup winner take a commanding lead in the race for the Europa League Golden Boot.
A wonderful piece of goalkeeping from Kiev’s Ukranian stopper kept the scoreline at four as he kept out Alonso’s whipped free-kick at full stretch with the game in its final third. But just as it looked to be heading for a 7-0 aggregate scoreline, Hudson-Odoi got in the goalscoring act with a fine finish that showed composure beyond his years, something Sarri has still seemingly failed to pick up on.
The 18-year-old’s fifth goal of the campaign rounded off a brilliantly professional performance for the Blues as they confirmed their place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League where they have been drawn against Slavia Prague. It may sound an easy draw but the Czech Republicans must be taken seriously as they dumped Sevilla out to get this far.