Olivier Giroud spares Chelsea's blushes as Blues held by Vidi

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  • Olivier Giroud
    Olivier Giroud
    French association football player
  • Álvaro Morata
    Álvaro Morata
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Maurizio Sarri
    Italian association football manager
Soccer Football – Europa League – Group Stage – Group L – Vidi FC v Chelsea – Groupama Arena, Budapest, Hungary – December 13, 2018 Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their second goal with Pedro Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Soccer Football – Europa League – Group Stage – Group L – Vidi FC v Chelsea – Groupama Arena, Budapest, Hungary – December 13, 2018 Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their second goal with Pedro Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

Chelsea have laboured a 2-2 draw with Hungarian minnows MOL Vidi in their final Europa League match in Budapest.

Chelsea were already guaranteed top spot in the group thanks to their perfect five-from-five record, and Willian gave them the lead from a free kick, Maurizio Sarri’s men looked set to cruise to a routine win.

However, Vidi turned the match on its head with a goal either side of halftime. Ethan Ampadu, in his first Chelsea start, headed the ball into his own net before Loic Remy then gave Vidi hope of a famous win with a top-class volley in the second half.

AS IT HAPPENED: MOL Vidi v Chelsea

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But Olivier Giroud – on as a first-half substitute for the injured Alvaro Morata – spared Chelsea’s blushes with a free kick 15 minutes from time.

In truth, the result is likely to mean very little for Sarri who admitted pre-match that the game was a “difficult match to prepare for” with nothing on the line for Blues.

Alvaro Morata receives medical attention after sustaining an injury
Alvaro Morata receives medical attention after sustaining an injury

Sarri took the opportunity to make 10 changes for their trip to Hungary.

Wales defender Ampadu was handed his first ever start in a Chelsea shirt, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and winger Callum Hudson-Odoi – who scored one goal and created another against PAOK – were also given the nod.

Whether it was Sarri’s changes, or there being nothing on the line for the Blues, the match took a long time to get going.

Chelsea had 78 per cent possession across the first 20 minutes but struggled to create anything of note and both sides were restricted to half chances.

Vidi did fashion the first real chance on the break, but Nego failed to get any power on the turn and his shot was easily held by Willy Caballero in goal.

So it came somewhat as a surprise when both sides combined to score two goals in two minutes.

Willian gave Chelsea the lead in the first half
Willian gave Chelsea the lead in the first half

Willian won a soft free kick 25 yards from goal and the Brazilian made no mistake, bending the ball over the wall into the back of the net despite the efforts of goalkeeper Adam Kovacsik.

However, Vidi hit straight back. The Hungarian champions forced a corner from the kick off, the ball was flicked on and Ampadu could only head the ball into his own net.

Chelsea began to work their way through the gears and good work from Hudson-Odoi set up Alvaro Morata, but he saw his shot saved at the near post. It was the striker’s final act as he appeared to injure his knee and was replaced by Olivier Giroud before halftime.

Caballero then had to be alert, diving to keep out Nego’s firmly struck shot from the edge of the box.

With BATE up 3-0 at halftime in the group’s other match, Vidi’s hopes of qualifying were all but over and the second half began with training-match intensity.

However, Vidi sensationally took the lead with a goal that wouldn’t look out of place at Stamford Bridge.

Loic Nego scored a sensational volley to put Vidi 2-1 up
Loic Nego scored a sensational volley to put Vidi 2-1 up

Nego found himself in space at the far post and the former Charlton striker met a left wing cross with a sumptuous first-time volley past Caballero and into the top corner.

Chelsea attempted to muster a response but Giroud twice missed the target when well placed, Hudson-Odoi had his weak shot saved, before Pedro saw his attempt squirm wide.

Giroud then made amends from a second Chelsea free kick. Fabregas was scythed down on the edge of the D and despite a defender on the line, the Frenchman sent a wonderful left-footed free right into the top corner.

Chelsea lost their 100% record but can now look forward to Sunday’s match against Brighton and the Europa League draw on Monday afternoon.


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