Europa League: Olivier Giroud’s stunner helps Chelsea hold Vidi to 2-2 draw
Olivier Giroud scored a late stunner as Chelsea bounced back from a goal down to hold Vidi to a 2-2 draw in their final Group L encounter in the Europa League on Thursday.
Chelsea topped the group while Belarusian side Bate finished second to progress into the Knockout stages.
Brazilian winger Willian opened the scoring for Chelsea with a wonderful free-kick in the 30th minute after Paulo Vinicius had fouled him outside the penalty box.
But the lead lasted for just two minutes before young centre-back Ethan Ampadu redirected a corner into his net. Both sides went into the break levelled at 1-1.
Loic Nego then put Bate ahead with a spectacular volley in the 56th minute giving the Belarusian side an early taste of an improbable victory. But substitute Giroud netted home a superb free-kick to secure the draw and help Chelsea finish the group stage unbeaten. They finished with 16 points from six matches.
Elsewhere Nikolai Sihnevich scored a first-half brace as Bate thrashed PAOK 3-1 to become the second team to progress from Group L.
“We made a lot of mistakes from the tactical point of view,” Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri was quoted as saying by news agency AFP following the 2-2 draw
“I am happy with the character and reaction from the second goal. From the tactical point of view, we made a lot of mistakes.”