Chelsea Join Arsenal In Europa League Last 16

The responsibility for providing Chelsea's spark fell to Hudson-Odoi. PICTURE: Getty Images

Callum Hudson-Odoi scored a marvelous second-half goal as Chelsea cruised into the Europa League last 16 with a victory over Malmo at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues, who led 2-1 from the first leg, started slowly but improved markedly after the break. Olivier Giroud gave them the lead on the night by tapping home, before Ross Barkley floated in a free-kick moments after Rasmus Bengtsson was sent off.

Hudson-Odoi, 18, then drove in from the right before firing in a late third. Whether this result will ease the pressure on Blues manager Maurizio Sarri remains to be seen.

Their next two matches – against Manchester City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, and Tottenham in the Premier League next week – will be bigger tests.

With playmaker Eden Hazard on the bench, the responsibility for providing Chelsea’s spark fell to Hudson-Odoi.

This was his first start since the FA Cup fourth-round game against Nottingham Forest at the start of January, and his selection was greeted with one of the biggest cheers of the night.

The teenager did not disappoint the home support. During a turgid first-half from the Blues, he lifted the gloom when, tight on the touchline, he wriggled past four defenders.

His late goal was well-taken and deserved. Many Chelsea fans will be hoping the academy graduate has done enough to earn a place in Sunday’s cup final.

Chelsea are at Wembley on Sunday for the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City (16:30 GMT).