Chelsea used a strong second-half performance to get a 3-0 win over Malmo FF (5-1 on aggregate) and advance to Europa League’s round of 16.
Thursday’s win at Stamford Bridge provides a bit of relief for beleaguered boss Maurizio Sarri, whose side had been knocked out of the FA Cup earlier this week by Manchester United.
Malmo nearly grabbed an early lead in the 11th minute when Markus Rosenberg neatly turned on the edge of the box, only for his shot to go wide of the Chelsea net.
Chelsea grew more comfortable as the first half progressed and weathered the Swedish side’s initial press. Chelsea’s best chances came off two long-range shots from Ross Barkely, both of which were denied by Malmo goalkeeper Johan Dahlin.
The Blues broke the stalemate in the 55th minute when N’golo Kante intercepted a Malmo pass to start a brilliant counter-attack, passing to Willian on the left flank, who then crossed it back to a racing Olivier Giroud for the tap into the net.
After Rasmus Bengtsson was sent off in the 74th minute for a challenge on Emerson, Barkley curled in well-struck free kick from just outside the box for Chelsea’s second of the night.
Ten minutes later, Callum Hodson-Odoi capped off a solid night by scoring the final goal, a wide-angle shot into the far corner of net.