Chelsea eased into the Europa League quarter-finals with a resounding away win in Kiev on Thursday night, thanks in no small part to Olivier Giroud’s hat-trick.
The Blues ran riot in Ukraine, securing our biggest ever away win in this competition as Giroud netted a perfect hat-trick, with Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi contributing a goal each.
Three up from the first leg at Stamford Bridge, we were always favourites to progress but did so in resounding fashion. The Frenchman put us in front early here, adding a second on the half-hour before Alonso turned home in injury-time at the end of the first half.
Giroud completed his hat-trick with a deft header from the excellent Willian’s cross, before turning provider for Hudson-Odoi to net on the day he received his first England Under-21 call-up.
It means we progress safely into Friday’s draw for the quarter-finals, with Maurizio Sarri and his squad returning to England in high spirits ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game at Everton.
With the Blues leading 3-0 from the first leg, Sarri was able to rest some of his key names ahead of Sunday’s Premier League trip to Everton, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi among those selected to start.
Early dynamo pressure saw Andreas Christensen turn the ball behind for a corner and then Toni Rudiger had to hack clear, but any early nerves were quickly brushed aside when Giroud converted his seventh Europa League goal of the campaign.
Willian’s right-sided corner was nodded down by Loftus-Cheek, allowing the unmarked Frenchman to side-foot past Denys Boyko from eight yards out.
The goalkeeper had little chance with that one, but minutes later was alert enough to keep out Loftus-Cheek’s low left-footed effort, which was destined for the bottom corner.
With a 4-0 aggregate lead and an away goal to boot, the Blues’ passage through to the last eight was effectively assured. All we needed to do was see the game out and for the most part, Sarri’s men were able to keep possession and save their legs.
One man who rarely rests is N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman, in his now familiar right-sided midfield role, won possession and burst down the wing, slipping in Giroud, who did well to beat his man but could not find his international team-mate with his pull-back across goal.
Giroud was, however, much more clinical when looking for the net himself and he added a second of the evening just after the half-hour mark.
Marcos Alonso exchanged passes with the excellent Loftus-Cheek down the left, bending an inch-perfect ball across the Dynamo backline, perfectly weighted to find Giroud, who again could not miss from a central position. European goal number eight for the season.
Just before the break, he was integral in us adding a third goal, finding Hudson-Odoi down the right channel with a well-measured pass, the youngster accelerating past his marker and squaring for Alonso to poke home.
Kiev should have pulled one back five minutes into the second period, but a combination of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s fine save and poor finishing from Serhiy Sydorchuk, who denied by the goalkeeper, then slammed the rebound against the post, provided us a let-off.
Giroud’s hat-trick arrived on the hour, and again the goal came from close range. Willian’s cross from the right was dangerous and the home side’s marking was once more lacking, allowing Giroud the space to flick his header beyond Boyko and into the far corner, securing a ‘perfect hat-trick’ in the process – one left foot, one right foot, one header.
Two minutes later we nearly hit a fifth, Alonso’s well-struck free-kick kept out brilliantly by Boyko when it looked destined for the top corner. The Spaniard went close again shortly afterwards, this time just off target with his set-piece.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Pedro were both introduced with the minutes ticking away, Azpilicueta in place of Davide Zappacosta, who looked to have sustained an injury.
Twelve minutes from time, Hudson-Odoi provided our fifth of the evening, making it our record away win in this competition.
Once more, Giroud was pivotal, picking up a loose pass from a home player and sending a brilliant ball in behind into Hudson-Odoi’s path. The winger still had plenty to do, but he held off his man and calmly slotted into the bottom corner for his fourth goal in the competition.
It rounded off a near-perfect away trip and we now look forward to finding out our opponents in the last eight. You can do so here on the official website, and the official app, as the news breaks.
Dynamo Kiev (4-2-3-1): Boyko; Kedziora, Burda, Kadar, Mykolenko; Sydorchuk (c) (Tche Tche 65), Shepeliev (Andriyevskiy 87) ; Tsygankov, Shaparenko, Sidcley (Smyrnyi 81); Garmash.
Unused subs Bushchan, Bueno, Shabanov, Alibekov.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Zappacosta (Azpilicueta 69), Christensen, Rudiger, Alonso; Kovacic, Kante (Jorginho 65), Loftus-Cheek; Hudson-Odoi, Giroud, Willian (c) (Pedro 74).
Unused subs Caballero, David Luiz, Barkley, Hazard.
Scorers Giroud 5, 33, 59 Alonso 45+1, Hudson-Odoi 78
Booked Azpilicueta 73
Referee Tobias Stieler (Germany)