The good run of English teams in European competition continued Thursday night as the duo of Arsenal and Chelsea secured qualification for the quarter-final stage of the Europa League in style.
Before now, the four English teams in the Champions League had also booked quarter-final tickets
In Ukraine, Olivier Giroud grabbed the headlines; scoring a hat trick as Chelsea beat Dynamo Kiev 5-0 to book their place among the last eight teams.
Giroud struck early in Kiev in the second leg of the last 16, added his second later in the first half and completed his hat trick in the second half for Chelsea to advance with a massive 8-0 win on aggregate.
Giroud was the third player this season to score three in Europe’s second-tier competition.
Marcos Alonso and Callum Hudson-Odoi also had one apiece for Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Napoli advanced 4-3 on aggregate against last year’s semifinalist, Salzburg, despite losing the second leg 3-1.
Valencia advanced thanks to an injury-time goal from substitute Goncalo Guedes that secured a 1-1 draw at Krasnodar and a 3-2 aggregate victory.
Arsenal also got the job done as they overturned a two-goal deficit against Rennes at the Emirates; beating the French side 3-0.
While Nigeria international, Alex Iwobi, was introduced into the game in the 70th minute, two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and one in between by Ainsley Maitland-Niles gave the Gunners the victory they craved for.
Elsewhere, five-time champion Sevilla travelled to face Slavia Prague after a surprising 2-2 draw in the first leg last week.
After losing the first leg 2-1 in Spain, Krasnodar looked set to advance on the away goals rule after Magomed Suleymanov gave it a 1-0 lead five minutes from time. But Guedes secured a spot in the last eight for Valencia in the third minute of injury time.
The Europa League and Champions League draws will be conducted on Friday.
Author: Tunde Eludini