Giroud’s hat-trick sends Chelsea to EL quarters
Olivier Giroud celebrated his 50th European competition game by scoring a hat-trick as Chelsea beat Dynamo Kiev 5-0 yesterday to cruise into the Europa League quarter-finals.
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 semi-finalist 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 travelled to face Slavia Prague after a surprising 2-2 draw in the first leg last week.
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 is 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.