Olivier Giroud’s first aim of the season helped Chelsea into the final 32 of the Europa League as they edged to victory over Bate Borisov.
The France worldwide headed Emerson’s cross in on the close to submit early within the second interval to keep up the Blues’ 100% Group L report.
Chelsea at the moment are six factors away from Hungarian aspect MOL Vidi, who moved as much as second within the group with a win over PAOK Salonika.
Regardless of the chilly situations in Belarus, a white-hot ambiance greeted Maurizio Sarri’s aspect at a tightly-packed Borisov Enviornment.
And it was the hosts, who had confirmed their 13th consecutive Belarusian league title on Sunday, who initially went on the offensive.
Throughout a 60-second interval, Bate twice carved out alternatives with Dmitri Baga’s rasping drive hitting the submit and Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga athletically saving Stanislav Dragun’s header from a nook.
However as Chelsea grew extra assured, the hosts retreated, and early within the second half Emerson’s cross allowed Giroud to nod the ball in on the close to submit, his first aim since Could.
That prompted a powerful response from Bate, however Nikolai Signevich struck the left submit and Aleksey Rios blazed over from shut vary because the Blues held on to win.
Giroud off the mark
Regardless of France’s exploits in profitable the World Cup in Russia in the summertime, it was hardly a classic match for Giroud who ended the match with out registering a single shot heading in the right direction in 546 minutes of motion.
And the prospects of an early-season pick-me-up had been hardly assisted by his late return to coaching six days earlier than the Premier League marketing campaign began.
As a consequence, the 32-year-old has struggled for sharpness and to combine into a method of play that’s evolving beneath Sarri.
Nevertheless, in his 12th match of the marketing campaign and 794 minutes from his final aim in Chelsea colors, in opposition to Liverpool on 6 Could, Giroud made the decisive contribution.
Tellingly the 6ft 3in ahead delivered it with a textbook downward header from Emerson’s pinpoint left-wing cross to underline the worth his aerial prowess gives in tight video games.
Extra to observe.