Chelsea run riot against Dynamo Kiev in Europa League
Olivier Giroud hit a hat-trick as Chelsea set aside Maurizio Sarri’s concerns about Dynamo Kiev’s pitch by easing into the Europa League quarter-finals with an emphatic 8-0 aggregate win.
Striker Giroud took his tally to nine goals in as many appearances in the competition with his first treble in almost three years.
Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi, celebrating his maiden England Under-21 call-up, were also on target in the Ukrainian capital as the much-changed Blues won 5-0 on the night to put their name in the hat for Friday’s last-eight draw.
Head coach Sarri was preoccupied with the playing surface pre-match, fearing it was an injury-threat to his players and describing it as a “disaster” and “really dangerous”.
UEFA responded to the Italian’s complaints by saying the issue was superficial rather than a safety risk.
His dominant team, who won 3-0 at Stamford Bridge last week, appeared to have little trouble performing on the patchy turf and increased their overall advantage inside five minutes.
Stand-in Blues captain Willian, who was jeered by the Dynamo ultras for his Shakhtar Donetsk connections, delivered an outswinging corner from the right, which was flicked on Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Giroud to turn in from close range.
Chelsea had never lost a Europa League match by more than two goals and Dynamo manager Aleksandr Khatskevich admitted in the build-up that his side needed a miracle to overturn their deficit.
A crowd of almost 65,000 turned out at the Olympic Stadium to see if they could, but any slim hopes of a dramatic comeback were effectively ended with 33 minutes played.
Roving left-back Alonso played a one-two with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and then proceeded to deliver a delightful curling cross from the left which left Giroud, playing in place of the ill Gonzalo Higuain, with a simple one-touch finish past Denys Boyko.
Undeterred by his team’s commanding position, Spaniard Alonso continued to venture forward and was rewarded with his first goal since August in first-half stoppage time.
Callum Hudson-Odoi, who received international recognition earlier on Thursday, exchanged passes with Giroud and then pulled the ball across goal for Alonso to slide home from inside the six-yard box.
For the second successive week, Dynamo offered little from an attacking perspective, although they did come out fired up following the interval and should have reduced the deficit.
Captain Serhiy Sydorchuk fired straight at Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga from close range and then, after the ball broke back into his path, side-footed against the right post.
Denys Garmash, who had a goal correctly disallowed in the opening period, then had another effort chalked off, before Chelsea reasserted their control and Giroud completed his first treble since playing for Arsenal against Aston Villa in May 2016.
Willian curled in a 59th-minute set-piece from the right and unmarked World Cup winner Giroud rose unmarked to confidently nod home. It was very nearly worse for the hosts moments later when Dynamo goalkeeper Boyko got fingertips to an Alonso free-kick to turn the ball on to the angle of post and crossbar.
Dynamo’s misery was compete 12 minutes from time. Hudson-Odoi raced clear and calmly slotted home his fifth goal of the campaign.