Europa League: Chelsea fight off Slavia to join Arsenal in semis
Leading 1-0 from last week's first leg in the Czech capital, Chelsea appeared to be cruising towards the last four after an early goal blitz at Stamford Bridge
Pedro Rodriguez starred as Chelsea withstood a spirited Slavia Prague fightback in a wild 4-3 victory to qualify for the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday, while Arsenal knocked out Napoli after an assured display in Italy.
Leading 1-0 from last week's first leg in the Czech capital, Chelsea appeared to be cruising towards the last four after an early goal blitz at Stamford Bridge. Pedro struck the opener on five minutes before an unfortunate Simon Deli turned into his own net and Olivier Giroud added a third with barely quarter of an hour gone in London. Tomas Soucek pulled one back for Slavia on 26 minutes, but Spain forward Pedro replied immediately to restore the Blues' three-goal lead.
Maurizio Sarri's side were made to sweat though as two sublime, quick-fire goals by Petr Sevcik just after half-time gave Slavia hope of an incredible comeback with 35 minutes still to play. Chelsea eventually saw off the threat to progress 5-3 on aggregate despite an unconvincing second-half display.
"We have been efficient up front and solid at the back but we dropped our intensity after the break," Giroud, who scored his competition-leading 10th goal, told BT Sport.
"We started very badly in the second half but I'm really, really happy because we played well in the first 45 minutes and we are in a European semi-final which is very important to us," added Chelsea boss Sarri.
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