Four-goal Giroud seals top spot for dominant Chelsea





SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) – Striker Olivier Giroud scored four as a dominant Chelsea won 4-0 at Sevilla on Wednesday to secure top spot in Champions League Group E with a match to spare.

The result left Chelsea with 13 points from five games, three ahead of second-placed Sevilla with a better head-to-head record against the Spanish side after their 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard fielded an adventurous formation with three forwards behind Giroud and his bold move paid dividends as the Frenchman fired on all cylinders.

Giroud opened his account in the eighth minute with a left-footed finish from 10 metres after a darting run through the middle by Kai Havertz, with Chelsea missing two more chances in a lop-sided first half.

There was more one-way traffic after the break as Giroud doubled the lead in the 54th minute, beating goalkeeper Alfonso Pastor with a dinked right-footed finish having side-stepped a defender after Mateo Kovacic’s clever pass.

He made it 3-0 with a thumping 74th-minute header from substitute N’Golo Kante’s inch-perfect cross and then put the icing on the cake with an 83rd-minute penalty after he was fouled by Sergi Gomez.

Sevilla, who also booked a last-16 berth alongside Chelsea in the previous round of games, looked toothless up front and only had Nemanja Gudelj’s volley, which sailed over the bar, to show for their efforts.

In the group’s other fixture played earlier on Wednesday, Russian side Krasnodar secured a berth in the Europa League last 32 with a 1-0 home win over French rivals Stade Rennais.