Chelsea saw off Slavia Prague late challenge to qualify for Europa League semi finals having scored four goals in the first half of the game at Stamford Bridge, eventually winning by 4-3 (agg: 5-3).
The visitors crashed out of the competition in a blaze of glory as they kept Chelsea and their fans on the edge of the seats until the final whistle. Slavia made Maurizio Sarri’s men toil, though, thanks to two wonderful efforts from Petr Ševčík after the interval.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was booked for time wasting, Pedro trudging at a snail’s pace from the turf upon his substitution, and David Luiz panicked into punching the ball away just as Peter Olayinka threatened to burst through on goal late on.
Chelsea scored four before the break and equalled Atlético Madrid’s competition record of 15 games unbeaten. Pedro Rodríguez struck the first and last goals of a thrilling opening half in which Olivier Giroud grabbed his competition-leading tenth of the campaign.
Slavia were the better team in the second half, but had dug their hole just a bit too deep in the first.
After being down three goals at the break, the visitors came out firing in the second half and got back into the match through a pair of wonder strikes from Sevcik (51′, 54′).
From there it looked as though they would be able to score another, but Sarri made a fantastic substitution bringing on Jorginho which stopped Slavia from streaming through the midfield as they’d been doing before he entered the pitch.
The guests did wind up having another couple of half chances in the embers of the match, but were unable to put any of them in the back of the net.
Slavia leave the competition with their heads held high. The four-defender system worked much better than the one used in the first half. Chelsea’s effectiveness was decisive but Slavia fought back after the break.
Photo Credit: uefa.com