Chelsea & Inter march into Europa League last 16 – final results of the UEL night
Chelsea put patchy domestic form behind to reach the Europa League last 16 and were joined by fellow big guns from Italy on a night of rip-roaring action in the continent’s second-tier competition on Thursday.
Chelsea took some of the pressure off coach Maurizio Sarri with a 3-0 home defeat of Malmo which gave them a 5-1 aggregate win over the Swedish side.
Rattled by embarrassing domestic defeats, Chelsea looked jittery before Olivier Giroud settled their nerves with a close range tap-in shortly after halftime at Stamford Bridge following good work by N’Golo Kante and Willian in the build-up.
Malmo had central defender Magnus Bengtsson sent off in the 73rd minute for a second bookable offence, moments before Ross Barkley curled in a delightful freekick from 20 metres.
Callum Hudson-Odoi put the icing on the cake in the closing stages with a fierce low shot from inside the penalty area, boosting Chelsea’s confidence ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City in the League Cup final at Wembley.
Inter Milan, the winners of three European Cup and UEFA Cup titles apiece, also strolled through with a 4-0 home win over Rapid Vienna which completed a 5-0 dismissal.
Spaletti’s team followed Napoli’s footsteps as Matias Vecino, Andrea Ranocchia, Ivan Perisic and Matteo Politano made light work of their return leg against Rapid.
Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb thrashed Viktora Plzen 3-0 for a 4-2 aggregate win over the Czechs while a Kevin Gameiro goal gave Valencia a 1-0 win over 10-man Celtic who had Jeremy Toljan sent off in the first half.
The result completed Valencia’s 3-0 overall defeat of the 1967 European Cup winners.
Bayer Leverkusen were the surprise casualties after a 1-1 home draw with Krasnodar sent the Russian side through on away goals and Real Betis were beaten by Rennes 6-4 on aggregate following a 3-1 home defeat by the French side.
Slavia Prague stunned Belgians Genk 4-1 away after a goalless first leg and Dynamo Kiev edged Olympiacos 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a 1-0 home win in the return fixture.
A 0-0 home draw with Galatasaray was enough to see former European Cup winners Benfica through after their 2-1 away win a fortnight ago.
REUTERS/Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Christian Radnedge