Pedro, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi helped Chelsea to a 3-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in their Europa League last 16 first-leg tie on Thursday.
Maurizio Sarri’s side dominated throughout, and despite missing a host of opportunities in the first half, ended up with a commanding advantage ahead of next week’s second leg in Ukraine.
After a bright start, Chelsea forged ahead in the 17th minute thanks to sublime play by Olivier Giroud.
The Frenchman collected Pedro’s pass and picked out the Spaniard’s subsequent surge into the penalty area with a superb flick, the former Barcelona man then sliding through Denys Boyko’s legs from eight yards.
An unmarked Pedro should have doubled the Blues’ advantage three minutes later, but fired straight at Boyko from just six yards, while Ross Barkley was denied by the Dynamo goalkeeper’s legs soon after.
Boyko brilliantly repelled Pedro’s volley and Marcos Alonso saw an effort deflected narrowly wide as Chelsea threatened to pull out of sight before half-time.
Willian ensured those misses were not too costly, however, whipping a superb free kick into Boyko’s top-right corner from 25 yards in the 65th minute to double the Blues’ lead.
Alonso flashed wide and Ruben Loftus-Cheek clipped over before Hudson-Odoi coolly slotted past Boyko late on to ensure that Chelsea travel to Ukraine next week with one foot in the quarter-finals.
What does it mean? Sarri steadies the ship
Few would have given Sarri a chance of still being in charge for this game a few weeks ago, but the Italian has well and truly weathered the storm.
He came out of the Kepa Arrizabalaga fiasco in the EFL Cup final with his reputation not simply intact, but arguably enhanced, and has now overseen three consecutive wins in all competitions. His only disappointment from this game will be that Chelsea did not win by a greater margin, given their utter dominance.
Pedro too dynamic for Dynamo
The 31-year-old was unplayable in the first half, pulling Dynamo’s defenders all over the pitch. He got Chelsea on their way early on with a cool finish and only failed to finish with a hat-trick, courtesy of a combination of wayward finishing and inspired goalkeeping.
Barkley fails to sparkle
With competition for places in Chelsea’s midfield never greater, the England international will consider this an opportunity missed. He shot straight at Boyko from a promising position in the first half, and scarcely featured again before his departure just after the hour mark.
Chelsea return to Premier League action on Sunday when Wolves travel to Stamford Bridge, while Dynamo face a domestic derby against Arsenal Kiev on the same day.
You may also like