March 14, 2019 / 8:27 PM / in 3 months

Soccer-Giroud hat-trick leads Chelsea into Europa quarters

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - A perfect hat-trick from Olivier Giroud helped Chelsea overcome Dynamo Kiev 5-0 and cruise into the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday where they will be joined by Napoli and Valencia.

Giroud, the tournament’s top scorer this season, got his seventh and eighth goals in the first half and Marcos Alonso tapped in a third from close range seconds before halftime.

French striker Giroud made it 4-0 after 59 minutes when he headed home from a Willian free kick and Callum Hudson-Odoi added a fifth to cap an 8-0 aggregate victory for the Premier League side.

The perfect hat-trick – goals with his left foot, right foot and a header - was Giroud’s first for Chelsea and the win was the London club’s ninth in 10 Europa League games this season.

Napoli beat Salzburg 3-0 at home last week and it looked like they had wrapped up the tie after 14 minutes when Arkadiusz Milik put them ahead with an acrobatic strike.

But the Austrians, whose unbeaten home run in Europe stretches back 17 games, fought back to win the match 3-1.

Munas Dabbur equalised with his eighth Europa League goal of the season and substitute Fredrik Gulbrandsen made it 2-1 win when he converted a low cross from Andreas Ulmer midway through the second half.

Christoph Leitgeb got Salzburg’s third in stoppage-time but the early away goal ensured Napoli went through 4-3 on aggregate.

In Krasnodar, it took the home side until the 85th minute to revive their hopes of a quarter-final place at the expense of Valencia.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, a spectacular strike from Shapi Suleymanov made it 2-2 on aggregate and would have put Krasnodar through on away goals but Goncalo Guedes broke Russian hearts in stoppage-time to earn the Spaniards a dramatic victory.

Later on Thursday, Arsenal host Rennes trailing 3-1 from the first leg in France while Villarreal, who beat Zenit 3-1 in St Petersburg, face the Russians in Spain.

Benfica hope to overturn a 1-0 deficit at home to Dinamo Zagreb, Slavia Prague and Sevilla start level at 2-2 and Inter Milan against Eintracht Frankfurt is finely poised at 0-0.

The draw for the quarter-finals takes place on Friday.

Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Ed Osmond

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