Chelsea ride their luck as Giroud’s goal takes them through

Olivier Giroud scored for the first time since May. [Picture: AP Photo/Sergei Grits]

BATE Borisov 0 Chelsea 1

Olivier Giroud’s first goal of the season sealed Chelsea’s place in the knockout phase of the Europa League.

BATE Borisov hit the woodwork three times in Belarus, where Giroud ended his drought seven minutes into the second half with a near-post header from a left-wing cross by Emerson Palmieri, who had been found by Jorginho’s pass.

It secured a fifth straight win for Chelsea, who had Eden Hazard back in their starting line-up following his recent back problem.

It also maintained the Blues’ 100% record in the Europa League this season and their unbeaten record in all competitions under boss Maurizio Sarri.

Giroud’s goal was a rare Chelsea effort on target. [Picture: AP Photo/Sergei Grits]

But BATE, despite being outclassed for large spells of the match, can consider themselves somewhat unfortunate.

They almost took an early lead when Dmitri Baga’s shot struck the outside of the post just before Igor Stasevich’s flick from a corner was kept out by Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

After Giroud’s goal, Ihar Stasevich shot against the post after Ruben Loftus-Cheek had given the ball away.

Andreas Christensen was among those brought into the Chelsea side. [Picture: AP Photo/Sergei Grits]

More shoddy Chelsea defending led to another let-off for them on the hour mark, this time when Alexei Rios missed a glorious chance to equalise when he fired over.

And in the final seconds, Yevgeniy Berezkin’s shot came back off the post after Chelsea had struggled to clear a corner.

Chelsea: Kepa, Zappacosta, Cahill, Christensen, Emerson, Barkley, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek (Kovacic 64), Pedro (Hudson-Odoi 85), Giroud, Hazard (Willian 62).
Subs not used: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Ampadu, Kante.