CHELSEA 4, ARSENAL 1
For Eden Hazard, it was the perfect goodbye. For Petr Cech, it was a painful way to retire.
Hazard scored twice past his former teammate as Chelsea sliced through Arsenal in the second half of the Europa League final yesterday, netting four times in the space of 23 minutes to win 4-1 in a London derby played far from home.
The Belgian then confirmed that he is likely to leave the club this summer, amid widespread speculation about a move to Real Madrid.
“I think it is a goodbye but in football you never know,” Hazard told British broadcaster BT Sport.
After a drab first half, Chelsea took control in the 49th minute when Olivier Giroud met Emerson’s pass with a diving header into the net. It was the French striker’s 11th goal in 14 games in the Europa League this season.
Pedro doubled the lead when he found space in the penalty area in the 60th to stroke in a cut-back pass from Hazard. It was soon 3-0 when Hazard converted a penalty after Ainsley Maitland-Niles — the only English player to start the all-English final — shoved Giroud in the box.
Two minutes after coming off the bench, Alex Iwobi punished Chelsea for a poor clearance with a volley from the edge of the box to make it 3-1 in the 69th.
But Arsenal’s hopes of a comeback were extinguished three minutes later when Hazard and Giroud teamed up again. Hazard first passed the ball to Giroud and then knocked his flicked cross past Cech, the veteran goalkeeper who was playing his final game before retiring. AP