Callum Hudson-Odoi scored as Chelsea eased into the Europa League last 16 with a 3-0 victory over Malmo in their second-leg tie at Stamford Bridge, winning 5-1 on aggregate.
Olivier Giroud netted in his fifth successive Europa League game as he put Chelsea ahead in the 55th minute. Ross Barkley (74) doubled the lead with a superb, curling free-kick after Rasmus Bengtsson was sent off for a second yellow card.
Hudson-Odoi rounded off a fine starting performance with the third goal in the 85th minute to seal Chelsea’s spot in Friday’s last-16 draw.
Both sides had chances to score in the opening ten minutes. Andreas Vindheim played a good cross into the box, but Bengtsson could only put his header wide, before Giroud also skewed a header past the post after some good play from Hudson-Odoi and N’Golo Kante.
The visitors should have scored in the 13th minute as Malmo captain Markus Rosenberg took advantage of Hudson-Odoi’s poor touch to get onto the ball, rounding Antonio Rudiger on the edge of the area before sending his effort wide.
Chelsea’s best chance of the first half came from their first corner as Willian’s delivery, following neat interplay with Hudson-Odoi, was met by Cesar Azpilicueta, but the Spaniard’s sliding effort was saved by Malmo goalkeeper Johan Dahlin.
Ten minutes into the second half and Chelsea took the lead as Kante’s superb break from deep sparked a counter-attack, with the France international feeding to Willian down the left, who crossed for Giroud to tap home.
Malmo went down to ten men in the 73rd minute after Bengtsson picked up a second booking for hacking down Emerson just outside the area. It looked to be a promising area for a Chelsea free-kick and that was proved correct as Barkley curled home expertly to score in his second successive Europa League game.
Hudson-Odoi rounded off the scoring in the 84th minute as another inch-perfect cross from Willian picked out the 18-year-old on the right, who then darted into the box before firing into the bottom corner.
Maurizio Sarri has won 28 of his opening 43 games in charge of Chelsea in all competitions (D6 L9), one more than Pep Guardiola managed in his first 43 matches with Manchester City (W27 D9 L7).
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud is the first player to score in five consecutive Europa League appearances for an English club (6 goals in total) since Romelu Lukaku for Everton in March 2015.
Willian, who made his 200th start for Chelsea in all competitions, has registered three assists in his last four games for Chelsea, as many as he managed in his previous 25.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has been directly involved in six goals in his last six starts for Chelsea in all competitions (3 goals, 3 assists).
It was a fine performance from Willian on Thursday, who stepped into those big playmaker shoes as Eden Hazard started on the bench. He sprayed passes across the field with laser-like precision and set up the first and third goals with his efforts.
With Pedro struggling with illness, Willian is a more than capable replacement to start against Man City on Sunday and will be boosted by his efforts against Malmo.