Chelsea thrash Dynamo Kiev and march on to the Europa League last eight
Aleksandr 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 from the right was flicked on by Loftus-Cheek into a crowded penalty area and Giroud had the simple task of stabbing the ball home from six yards. Loftus-Cheek almost added a second goal in the 11th minute, advancing into the area and driving in a low shot which was saved by Denys Boyko, and Chelsea were almost embarrassingly superior. They were in total control, and a rout appeared inevitable.
Denys Garmash, the Dynamo forward, did have a goal disallowed for offside but all those fears Sarri had over the poor pitch were a distant memory. The second Chelsea goal came in the 32nd minute, after an exquisite cross into the box from Marcos Alonso. The left-back ran into space after a neat exchange of passes with Loftus-Cheek, spotted Giroud and then bent a brilliant ball around the home defence to present the Frenchman with a simple finish.
Alonso added the third in injury time, poking the ball over the line after a fine cross from Hudson-Odoi on the right. Dynamo’s captain Serhly Sydorchuk finally registered their first shots on target in the second half – after 141 minutes of the tie – when his initial effort was saved by Kepe Arrizabalaga before then striking the post from the rebound.
But Giroud secured the match ball just before the hour mark with a glancing header from Willian’s free kick.
Hudson-Odoi completed the rout in the 79th minute, breaking clear and slotting the ball past Boyko for his fourth goal in Europe this season.
A triumphant night for Sarriball, and Chelsea will be one to avoid for the other seven teams in the draw for the quarter-finals on Friday.
Giroud has nine goals in this season’s Europa League after his excellent treble and Chelsea must now be the favourites to win the competition and salvage Sarri’s often 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. Crucially, winning this frequently maligned competition will ensure the return of Champions League football and, perhaps, even save Sarri’s job.
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.