Giroud ends goal drought as Blues march on

NT News - - SPORT -

OLIVIER Giroud ended his drought by scor­ing the only goal to lead Chelsea to a 1-0 win at BATE Borisov on Thurs­day that clinched a place in the knock­out stage of the Europa League with two group games to spare.

Chelsea’s fourth win from as many Group L games was played out in freez­ing fog and mem­o­rable only for France World Cup win­ner Giroud’s first Blues goal since May’s win over Liver­pool.

BATE, com­fort­ably beaten last month in Lon­don, struck the wood­work three times and Eden Haz­ard’s ser­vices were re­quired for longer than an­tic­i­pated in Be­larus.

Man­ager Mau­r­izio Sarri was ges­tic­u­lat­ing wildly in his tech­ni­cal area as frus­tra­tion built, be­fore Chelsea scored.

Emer­son Palmieri found Giroud who beat De­nis Scher­bit­ski at the near post for the all im­por­tant goal.

The Blues held on to qual­ify with two matches to spare and ex­tend their un­beaten run to 17 games, since Au­gust’s Com­mu­nity Shield loss to Manch­ester City.

In Rus­sia, Rangers let a lead slip three times in a 4-3 de­feat by Spar­tak Moscow. An early own goal and strikes from Daniel Can­deias and Glenn Mid­dle­ton each put Rangers ahead 3-2.

But Luiz Adri­ano headed an­other equaliser in the 58th minute and Con­nor Gold­son, who scored a first-half own goal, in­ad­ver­tently di­verted Sofi­ane Hanni’s strike into the net sec­onds later.

Dy­namo Kiev de­feated Rennes 3-1, Fener­bache won 2-0 against An­der­lecht, Sevilla beat Akhisar 3-2 away and Soc­ceroo Danny Vukovic’s Genk drew 1-1 with Be­sik­tas.

Pic­ture: AFP

Chelsea's Ital­ian mid­fielder Jorginho tries to slip BATE Borisov's Fin­nish striker Jasse Tuomi­nen

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