Chelsea News: Olivier Giroud matches Lionel Messi's European record for the 2018/19 season
What's the story?
Chelsea FC narrowly edged past Czech Republic side Slavia Prague 4-3 at home to progress into the UEFA Europa League Semi-final with an aggregate score of 5-3. Spanish international Pedro scored a brace, Simon Deli scored an own goal and Olivier Giroud also put in his name on the scoresheet.
After his 17th minute strike against Prague, Giroud has achieved the rare feat of 10 goals in a single European season, a record previously only accomplished by the magical Lionel Messi for the 2018/19 season.
In case you didn't know...
Lionel Messi's Barcelona is on an all-conquering run across competitions this season under master tactician Ernesto Valverde. They are runaway leaders in LaLiga, having a 9-point lead over rivals Atletico Madrid, with just six matches to go.
The Blaugrana have also managed to reach the Copa Del Rey final where they will face Valencia. They have also defeated Manchester United in the Champions League quarterfinals, having failed to progress pass the quarterfinals in the previous three editions of the tournament.
The talismanic Messi has been in devastating form this season, even going by his lofty standards. The mercurial 'Messiah' has scored 45 goals in all competitions and contributed 15 assists. Messi is leading both the LaLiga and UEFA Champions League goalscoring charts.
The heart of the matter
Olivier Giroud has struggled for first team minutes under Sarri but has made telling contributions in the limited time given to him, especially in Europe. His goal against Slavia Prague was his 10th this season in Europe, making him the first Chelsea player to ever achieve the feat. The World Cup winner joined elite company, with Lionel Messi, as one of only two players to have crossed the ten-goal mark in Europe this season.
"We started well with good intentions," he said after the game , which Chelsea eventually won 4-3 to progress 5-3 on aggregate. We have been efficient up front and solid at the back but we dropped our intensity after the break. This team never gives up and the last 10 minutes was box to box. It was a good fight and now we are in the semi-finals."
Barcelona face Liverpool over two legs in the Champions League semifinals. In the other semifinal, Tottenham Hotspur face Dutch side AFC Ajax.
Chelsea take on German side Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Europa League Semi-finals. In the other semifinal, Arsenal are up against Spanish giants Valencia.