Vidi 2 Chelsea 2: Giroud spares Sarri's side in lacklustre draw

Willian and Olivier Giroud both scored free-kicks as Chelsea was made to earn a point against Vidi in its final Europa League group game.

Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring with Cesc Fabregas.   -  Getty Images

Olivier Giroud came off the bench to salvage an under-strength Chelsea a laboured 2-2 draw at Vidi in the Europa League on Thursday.

With the Blues already confirmed as Group L winners, Maurizio Sarri made 10 changes to the side that beat Manchester City last weekend and was almost made to endure an embarrassing defeat.

The visitor made life difficult for itself as an Ethan Ampadu own goal quickly erased Willian's 30th-minute opener, before Loic Nego fired the unheralded Hungarians into the lead 11 minutes after the restart.

But the loss of Alvaro Morata to a first-half knee problem proved an unlikely blessing in disguise for Chelsea as Giroud stroked in its second free-kick late in the match to ensure the Premier League side enters the knockout rounds unbeaten.

Vidi's deep defence made for a pedestrian start and it took Willian's moment of class to breathe life into the contest.

The Brazilian guided a fine free-kick beyond the cumbersome Adam Kovacsik, although the lead lasted less than two minutes as Ampadu awkwardly headed a corner into his own net at the other end.

Chelsea's luck continued to run against it when Morata, a largely peripheral figure, went down clutching his left knee in innocuous circumstances before the break and needed replacing.

The dangerous Nego left nothing to chance about the goal that put Vidi ahead, lashing home on the volley after Georgi Milanov spotted his run to the far post.

Giroud failed to capitalise on either of two good opportunities that initially came his way, but the France striker made amends in the 75th minute, mirroring Willian's earlier set-piece wizardry to seal a share of the points.

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