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Olivier Giroud’s perfect hat-trick fires Chelsea into Europa League last eight

This ended up more like a bye into the Europe League quarter-finals than the perilous encounter Maurizio Sarri had rather warily foreseen. Chelsea barely broke into a sweat in dismissing a desperately naive Dynamo Kyiv, with the uneven playing surface probably representing more of a threat than overawed opponents..

The whole occasion lacked a competitive edge though, given his team’s toils at times in recent months, Sarri will have welcomed such a stroll. His side feel like contenders in a competition which carries the considerable prize of Champions League qualification. They have the leading scorer in Olivier Giroud, a World Cup winner who has harshly been reduced to mere bench-warmer status these days in the Premier League. A striker who has managed less than an hour of topflight football this year departed with a hat-trick, the match-ball and his goal tally in Europe swollen to nine in as many games.

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