Giroud rescues draw for Chelsea in Budapest

MOL Vidi 2 Chelsea 2

Olivier Giroud’s superb free-kick prevented Chelsea falling to a surprise Europa League defeat.

Giroud, on as a substitute for the injured Alvaro Morata, equalised with 15 minutes remaining.

A first-half own goal by Ethan Ampadu had levelled the match less than two minutes after Willian’s free-kick put Chelsea in front in Budapest, where Morata went off just before the interval.

A thumping volley by Loïc Nego 11 minutes into the second half then put Vidi ahead.

Chelsea, having already comfortably booked their place in the knockout stage, were below par in their final group match and were unable to maintain their 100% record in this season’s tournament.

But they at least stayed unbeaten courtesy of Giroud’s fourth Europa League goal of the campaign.

Willian opened the scoring on the half-hour mark with a strike keeper Adam Kovacsik ought to have done better with.

Ampadu’s own goal came straight after Willian’s opener. Picture: Tibor Illyes/MTI via AP]

Chelsea immediately switched off at the back, failing to deal with Anel Hadžić’s left-wing free-kick.

The unfortunate Ampadu, in attempting to head clear, inadvertently diverted the ball past keeper Willy Caballero.

Youngsters Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu were both given starting places.

Hudson-Odoi was lively, creating two chances for Morata before the Spaniard went off a minute before the interval.

The teenage forward found Ruben Loftus-Cheek with a lovely ball early on and the England midfielder in turn found Morata, who tried to set up Cesc Fabregas rather than shoot but made a mess of the pass.

Hudson-Odoi was in the thick of the action again four minutes before half-time, doing well on the right and flicking the ball towards Morata, who was denied by Kovacsik at the near post.

Morata was replaced by Giroud shortly afterwards, having picked up what looked like a knee injury.

The home side started the second half strongly and Chelsea found themselves on the back foot.

They woke from their slumber after going behind, and Giroud missed a great chance to equalise when he poked wide from near the edge of the six-yard box after Emerson had pulled the ball back from the left.

Giroud also volleyed over after being set up by Fabregas’ chipped pass, and Pedro fired narrowly wide after being picked out by Hudson-Odoi, before Giroud eventually scored in emphatic fashion.

Chelsea: Caballero, Zappacosta, Christensen, Ampadu, Emerson, Fabregas, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Willian (Pedro 55), Morata (Giroud 44), Hudson-Odoi
Subs not used: Cumming, Alonso, Jorginho, Luiz, McEachran.