Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea can build momentum now, says scorer Giroud

Chelsea 4 PAOK Salonika 0

Treble yell: Callum Hudson-Odoi after scoring Chelsea’s third goal last night
Treble yell: Callum Hudson-Odoi after scoring Chelsea’s third goal last night

By Matt McGeechan

Olivier Giroud scored twice and Callum Hudson-Odoi netted his first goal for Chelsea as the Blues cruised to a 4-0 Europa League victory over 10-man PAOK Salonika at Stamford Bridge.

Yevhen Khacheridi was sent off for the Greek visitors after just seven minutes and Giroud scored twice before half-time, the second a brilliant volley from a Cesc Fabregas pass.

The 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi scored after 60 minutes before providing a goal for Alvaro Morata, on for Giroud, as the Blues responded from the loss to Tottenham with a fifth win from five European games.

"The main target was to win, we needed a strong team reaction and we did it well tonight," said Giroud.

"I am really happy with the team spirit and we can move forwards now and start some new momentum.

"I've scored goals in the past but it's true that I was waiting for more chances. You need a bit of luck in front of goal. I had a good assist from my team-mates, I love this kind of ball behind the defence.

"Four goals plus a clean sheet, a good night for us. When the manager starts me I try to give my best, do my part."

BATE Borisov's 2-0 win over Hungary's Vidi - Chelsea's final opponents on December 13 - in Belarus earlier yesterday meant the Blues had achieved their goal of first place in Group L prior to kick-off.

Sarri made 10 changes following last Saturday's loss to Spurs, after which the Italian questioned his players' determination following his first competitive defeat.

N'Golo Kante was singled out for criticism, but was rested along with David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta.

Eden Hazard was also absent. The Belgian is expected to shake off an ankle problem in time for Sunday's league fixture with Fulham.

This presented an opportunity for those selected to press their first-team claims, particularly Giroud.

PAOK's bid to preserve their 100 per cent record in London - they beat Arsenal in 1997 and Tottenham in 2011 - suffered a telling, self-inflicted blow after only seven minutes.

Right-back Leo Matos' pass towards Khacheridi was woefully short and Giroud stole in.

The Ukrainian defender lunged desperately at the France striker, bringing him down at the edge of the area before being shown an inevitable red card.

Fabregas sent the resulting free-kick under the wall, but wide.

PAOK's meek resistance was breached when Fabregas found Pedro, who in turn passed to Giroud. The Frenchman bent the ball inside the far post.

Hudson-Odoi then curled an effort onto the bar.

Giroud finished exquisitely for his second - and fourth goal in three Chelsea games. Fabregas clipped a perfectly weighted pass over the PAOK defence and Giroud volleyed in left-footed from six yards out.

Hudson-Odoi, on the left, cut in on to his right and his shot beat goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis at the near post.

Morata replaced Giroud with 15 minutes remaining, with the Frenchman's ankle - damaged earlier - and Fulham in mind.

Morata, sporting a fresh no-nonsense buzz cut, used his head to convert Hudson-Odoi's cross within three minutes of his introduction to wrap it up.

CHELSEA: Kepa, Zappacosta (Ampadu, 62 mins), Christensen, Cahill, Emerson, Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Pedro (Willian, 67 mins), Hudson-Odoi, Giroud (Morata, 75 mins).

Subs not used: Caballero, Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic.

PAOK: Paschalakis, Matos, Khacheridi, Crespo, Vierinha, Mauricio (Pelkas, 78 mins), Shakhov, Wernbloom, Jaba, Prijovic (Warda, 45 mins), El Kaddouri (Varela, 76 mins).

Subs not used: Rey, Bisewar, Akpom, Canas.

Referee: Kristo Tohver (Estonia)

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph