Chelsea returned to dominant form once more as the Blues defeated Malmo 2-1 away from home in the round of 32 Europa League clash. The win marked Chelsea’s first away victory of the year 2019, following three consecutive losses to Arsenal, Bournemouth and Manchester City without scoring a goal.
Chelsea have the advantage going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge next week Thursday, as goals from Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud made sure we had the three points and two away goals in Sweden.
Ross Barkley opened the scoring after 30 minutes as he poked in a curling cross from Pedro to score in the first half. For Olivier Giroud, all he had to do was flick the ball into the net for the second after Willian cut the ball back having beaten his opponent in the box.
Malmo ensured a nervy ending to the game as Anders Christiansen slotted home in the 80th minute.
Speaking after the game, Barkley said: “It was important for us to get the result from the weekend behind us and start with a positive today and a win.
“It was vital for us to win today and hopefully it continues. To come away from home and win was the target today and we’re looking forward to the second leg.”
Giroud who has now scored five goals in the Europa League this season said: “We needed to bounce back today so we have done the job, even if we could have scored more goals.
“It’s a shame we conceded on the counter-attack but we are happy and we need to finish the job at the Bridge now.
“We didn’t concede many chances but we knew they could be dangerous on the counter-attack and they succeeded with one chance. But it’s in our hands and we want to qualify.
“We have a big game on Monday against Manchester United in the FA Cup, then the second leg and the League Cup final against City. So massive games, and we want to qualify in every competition.”
Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta said Chelsea “had chances to have a more comfortable result” against Malmo and thinks the tie is “still all to play for”.
“It was a tough defeat last Sunday but we are in the knockout stage and it’s important to start well,” he said.
“This tournament is very important. We are fighting for trophies and to be in the top four. We are in the Carabao Cup final next week. Every trophy is important.”
Chelsea will face Manchester United at Stamford Bridge for an FA Cup clash on Monday evening before hosting Malmo for the second leg next week Thursday.