Madrid, Spain | THE INDEPENDENT | Veteran striker Olivier Giroud scored all four goals as Chelsea won 4-0 away to Sevilla on Wednesday night to assure they will finish top of UEFA Champions League Group E.
Both sides went into the match in Sevilla’s Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium already assured of their places in the last 16 of the competition, but with the leadership of the group and a theoretically easier draw in the next round still at stake.
Chelsea coach Frank Lampard made nine changes to his side that drew 0-0 against Tottenham at the weekend, with just Edouard Mendy and Mateo Kovacic keeping their places, while Giroud, who scored a late winner against Rennes a week ago, returning to the starting 11.
Meanwhile, Sevilla made seven changes to the side that won away to Huesca at the weekend, but it was Giroud who would be the decisive player in the game as he became the oldest player (34 years and 63 days) to score a Champions League hat-trick for Chelsea.
His first goal came after eight minutes following Kai Havertz’s 40-yard run to set him up 15 yards from goal and his second came from a Kovacic pass nine minutes after the break.
Between the two goals Sevilla had threatened, but failed to test Mendy in the Chelsea goal.
Giroud completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute as he flicked N’Golo Kante’s cross past Alfonso Pastor in the Sevilla goal.
There was time for the Frenchman to add a fourth after a clumsy challenge from Sergi Gomez bundled him over in the penalty area. Giroud picked himself up and put the ball into the top right corner of the net.
Chelsea are now unbeaten in their last 12 games and have conceded just twice in their last 10 outings.