Eden Hazard scored two goals and made another to help Chelsea thump London rivals Arsenal in Baku and win the Europa League.
With only about 5,000 fans from both sides able to make it to Azerbaijan, there was an eerie atmosphere in the Baku Olympic Stadium, which appeared to be less than half full.
That was the surreal setting for a game played 2,500 miles from home for both teams, and the game itself was devoid of action before the break before bursting into life early in the second half.
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former arsenal striker olivier giroud broke the deadlock when he met a clipped cross from emerson with a powerful header near the post past petr cech.
cech, also facing his old team and playing the last game of his career, was also unable to do anything against chelsea’s second goal, with pedro sweeping a dangerous cross on goal.
hazard made it 3-0 from the penalty spot soon after, sending cech the wrong way after ainsley maitland-niles fouled giroud.
substitute alex iwobi gave the arsenal hope briefly with a powerful first strike moments after coming on.
But Hazard quickly secured victory, playing a brace with Giroud and scoring Chelsea’s fourth goal.
The Belgian striker said after the game that it would probably be his “goodbye” from Chelsea, since he is still linked to Real Madrid.
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hazard says goodbye with a bright screen
Chelsea’s triumph brought them their fifth European title and their first since they won the Europa League in Amsterdam in 2013.
an excited sarri celebrated with his players on the pitch, but his future remains in doubt despite ending his first season at stamford bridge on a successful note.
hazard’s game looks a lot safer, and his performance ensured that this game will be remembered, at least in part, for footballing reasons, having been overshadowed beforehand by politics, along with travel and broadcast issues. tickets.
Chelsea fans who arrived at the match (by train, plane and even taxis) were rewarded with a typically effervescent display from a player who has shone for them for the last seven years.
giroud also deserves credit, particularly for his definition of the first goal that led to the collapse of arsenal.
But it was chance that made the difference, like so many times this season and in previous years.
If he leaves, the question is who will replace him?
cech says goodbye with a painful defeat
While Sarri was able to end his troubled first season with a smile, Arsenal counterpart Unai Emery had to watch in horror as his hopes of leading his side back into the Champions League after a two-year absence disappeared in the space of 16 second-half minutes.
That was how long it took for Chelsea to build an unassailable three-goal lead thanks to the kind of Arsenal defensive collapse that has been all too familiar this season.
Emery won this competition three times with Sevilla, but this loss is especially painful as it will almost certainly significantly affect his summer spending.
The Gunners will return to the Europa League next season, but they will be without veteran goalkeeper Cech, who will retire at the age of 37.
This was not the fairy tale ending his brilliant career possibly deserved, but the Arsenal’s capitulation had nothing to do with it.
He could do little with any of Chelsea’s goals in open play, let alone the penalty, and indeed helped limit any further damage with some impressive late saves.
man of the match – eden hazard (chelsea)
Match stats – Giroud & Pedro join elite clubs
- chelsea won their fifth grand final in uefa european competition, and only liverpool won more among english clubs (eight).
- arsenal conceded four goals in a european match for the first time since a 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich in March 2017 and were the first team to do so in a UEFA Cup/Europa League final since Middlesbrough lost 4-0 to Sevilla in 2006.
- chelsea became the first team to win a major european title without losing a match (v12 3d) since manchester united in the 2007-08 champions league.
- Arsenal have lost five of their six major uefa finals, including the last four in a row (1995 European Cup Winners’ Cup, 2000 UEFA Cup, 2006 Champions League, 2019 Europa League).
- chelsea won 12 european league games during 2018-19. only one team has won more games in a major european uefa competition in one season (atlético madrid in 2011-12, 13 wins).
- olivier giroud became the first player to score 11 goals in a major european competition for an english club since alan shearer in 2004-05 for newcastle united.
- is a record for a french player in a single european season, breaking the record held by nestor combin in 1963-64 (cup champions) and just fontaine in 1958-59 (european cup).
- chelsea’s pedro became the fifth player to score in a european cup/champions league final and uefa cup/europa league, after allan simonsen, dmitri alenichev , hernan crespo and steven gerrard.
- in his last game, arsenal goalkeeper petr cech conceded four goals in one game for the third time in a major European competition.
- Chelsea’s eleventh starter appeared without English, the first time a team had started a major european final without a player from their home country in their starting lineup since inter milan against bayern munich in the 2010 champions league final.
- eden hazard scored twice for Chelsea, becoming the first player to do so in the final of a major UEFA competition with an English club since Mark Hughes for Manchester United against Barcelona in the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup.