Baku, 30 May 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Eden Hazard scored twice, Olivier Giroud headed in against his former club and Pedro was on target as Chelsea defeated Arsenal 4-1 to win the final of football’s Europa League.
The four second-half goals in Baku, with Arsenal responding through Alex Iwobi, gave Italian manager Maurizio Sarri a major trophy in his first season in charge and Chelsea a first European title since the 2013 Europa League.
Chelsea broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when Giroud dived to head in a low Emerson cross to make him the competition’s leading scorer with 11 goals.
Pedro made it two on the hour with a left-foot shot following a Hazard pass, and Hazard himself stepped up to score from the penalty spot in the 65th after Giroud was barged over by Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Iwobi came off the bench and reduced the deficit in the 69th with a volley from the edge of the area but Hazard, in possibly his last game for Chelsea, made it four three minutes later after a double pass with Giroud.
“It was good. I think both teams were playing with a bit of stress with it being a final but when Olivier scored it was the beginning of a great night,” Hazard told BT Sport.
“We played well and controlled the game and I’m happy to leave this trophy with the boys. The manager said to carry on playing football at the break and today we showed this mentality.”
The victory mean England stay with four teams in the Champions League next season, with champions Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and already-qualified Chelsea.
Arsenal go into the Europa League again, along with Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The second all-England final follows on Saturday with the Champions League final in Madrid between Liverpool and Tottenham.
A goal-rich game did not look on the cards after a cagey first-half in which Arsenal began confidently but London neighbours Chelsea finished strongly.
Lacazette had a penalty appeal turned down and Granit Xhaka grazed the bar with a well-hit shot from 25 metres as Arsenal shaded the first 30 minutes.
Chelsea looked most threatening when Hazard was on the ball, and it was the Belgium international who was involved in two chances in a good phase for Sarri’s side.
Hazard fed Emerson for a shot saved by Petr Cech, and was involved in a move which led to the keeper stretching to his left to deflect an effort by Giroud.
Chelsea continued after the break where they left off when Giroud put the Blues in front, and from then on it was Sarri’s side in charge.
At three goals down, Unai Emery, who won the Europa League three times with Sevilla from 2014-16, sent Iwobi on for Lucas Torreira, midfielder Matteo Guendouzi for defender Nacho Monreal, and at 4-1 down striker Joe Willock for Mesut Oezil.
But it was Chelsea who continued to look the more dangerous, and Cech, in his final game before retiring, had to save from substitute Willian, while Cesar Apilicueta fired just wide.
Willock curled a shot wide in Arsenal’s best opportunity but by then it was too late, leaving Arsenal still chasing a first European trophy since the 1994 edition of the now-defunct Cup Winners’ Cup.
Giroud said: “It was a good final and we have been better, more efficient in the second half.”
He added: “These two clubs changed my life, they gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League. I didn’t want to celebrate against Arsenal but I am so proud to win this trophy with Chelsea.”