Olivier Giroud scored four goals as Chelsea romped to an impressive 4-0 victory at Sevilla on Wednesday to secure top spot in Champions League Group E.
The 34-year-old striker is the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the competition since Hungarian great Ferenc Puskas in 1965 for Real Madrid against Feyenoord.
He is also the first player to net four times in a Champions League match since Cristiano Ronaldo against Malmo five years ago.
“Amazing solo performance from Olivier. Delighted with him, delighted with the team. This is a difficult place to come,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, the last Chelsea player to score four goals in a game against Aston Villa in 2010, told BT Sport.
Both teams were already qualified for the last 16 before kick-off, but Giroud made the most of a rare start, scoring with his left foot, his right foot and his head to see Chelsea through as group winners, also slotting in a penalty.
“I didn’t know until two years ago that you called it a perfect hat-trick, when I scored (a treble) against (Dynamo) Kiev in (the) Europa League, I said ‘What do you mean?’ It was good, I had good assists though,” Giroud said.
“I will try to carry on like that — to finish the good job of the team and it’s always nice to be in the club history and we play football to mark our history, so I’m pleased to help the team to win and to score the four goals.”
The France international sent out a message to Lampard, with Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham seemingly above him in the pecking order, by making the absolute most of only his second start of the season.
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“Let me enjoy the night and that great win and after that we will rest and we will see what the gaffer’s plan is,” Giroud said when asked if he was now expecting to start against Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday.
Lampard will now be able to rest players for the final group game against Krasnodar at Stamford Bridge, with his side looking to improve on last season’s run to the last 16, where they were well beaten by eventual winners Bayern Munich.
– Fine finish –
Giroud wasted little time in putting Chelsea ahead, collecting Kai Havertz’s clever pass before cutting inside and bending a fine finish into the far corner in the eighth minute.
Sevilla were left frustrated as they saw two penalty appeals for handball turned down.
In the 20th minute, claims that Christian Pulisic handled were waved away by referee Artur Soares Dias after he checked the pitchside monitor.
The hosts had another penalty shout turned down following a lengthy VAR delay after an Ivan Rakitic free-kick struck the Chelsea wall.
Aside from those nervy moments, Lampard’s Blues were the more threatening, with Antonio Rudiger seeing a header cleared off the line before Alfonso Pastor kept out Pulisic’s low drive.
The home side started the second half brightly, as Jesus Navas picked out Nemanja Gudelj with a clever pass, but the Serbian international fired narrowly over.
Chelsea doubled their advantage in the 54th minute, though, as Giroud boosted his case for more game time further by latching onto Mateo Kovacic’s pass and clipping the ball over the Sevilla goalkeeper.
But he was not finished there, completing his first Champions League hat-trick since a treble against Olympiakos for Arsenal in 2015 with a looping header from N’Golo Kante’s cross.
Giroud rounded off a virtuoso display from the spot with seven minutes to play, scoring a spot-kick he had won himself.
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