Europa League - Round of 32 - 1st Leg
Malmö FFMalmö FF1ChelseaChelsea2

Malmo 1-2 Chelsea in Europa League last 32: Blues claim narrow victory in Sweden

By Emma SandersBBC Sport
Olivier Giroud scores
Olivier Giroud has scored five goals in six Europa League appearances this season

Chelsea claimed a narrow victory over Malmo in the Europa League after they were greeted with a rousing atmosphere in Sweden for the first leg of their last 32 tie.

Ross Barkley poked in a curling cross from Pedro to score in the first half.

Olivier Giroud flicked in the second after Willian cut the ball back having beaten his opponent in the box.

Malmo ensured it was a nervy ending for Chelsea as Anders Christiansen slotted home in the 80th minute.

Victory eases the pressure slightly on manager Maurizio Sarri who said his "job was at risk" after Chelsea were thrashed 6-0 by Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.

Chelsea remain unbeaten in the Europa League this season before the second leg at Stamford Bridge on 21 February.

Relief for under-pressure Sarri

Maurizio Sarri
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri was made to sweat as his side were put under a little bit of pressure in the last 10 minutes

Sarri looked dejected on the sidelines as he watched Chelsea suffer their worst defeat in 28 years at Etihad Stadium.

It was their fourth loss in 10 games and meant they dropped down to sixth place in the Premier League - 15 points behind leaders Manchester City.

Victory was needed against a Malmo side who have qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League for the first time.

There were signs of nervousness from Chelsea at the start of the match, Malmo winning two corners within the first minute and having a shot blocked by Jorginho in the box.

But the Blues became more comfortable as the game went on and when Giroud coolly doubled Chelsea's lead to score his fifth goal in the competition this season, Sarri could be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief.

Chelsea made hard work of it in the end, though. Malmo threatened to equalise in stoppage time but as Sarri had stated before kick-off, his side "need targets in the short term" and victory of any kind was just that.

The wounded animal responds

Chelsea went into this tie as resounding favourites - Malmo coach Uwe Rosler said the "odds are 80 million turnover against 450 million turnover" before the match.

Rosler also expected a response from Chelsea after their mauling by his former club Manchester City, saying: "When a grizzly bear is wounded he's a very, very dangerous animal."

Sarri's side were certainly wounded but they were made to battle for their victory after Christiansen's late goal lifted the hostile atmosphere in Sweden for the last 10 minutes of the match.

David Luiz had earlier deflected away midfielder Arnor Ingvi Traustason's half-volley and Barkley was forced to make two headed clearances to deny Soren Rieks in the first half.

The hosts - who were encouraged by their fans to press and hassle the Chelsea back four - seemed to tire in the second half which was not surprising given this was their first competitive fixture since December.

But they regained a bit of spark at the end after Chelsea had missed opportunities to extend their lead. Barkley had a close-range effort tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Johan Dahlin before Pedro's curling effort was deflected narrowly wide.

Man of the match - Olivier Giroud (Chelsea)

Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring for Chelsea against Malmo in the Europa League
Excellent in his link-up play and on target again in the Europa League, Giroud shone for Chelsea

'We were in control' - Sarri

Maurizio Sarri graphic
Maurizio Sarri has won more than half of his matches as Chelsea manager but his side have struggled in the Premier League recently

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri told BT Sport: "I think we played a good match again a team who are very physical. We were scared a bit on set-pieces. We were in control of the match and we deserved to win with more goals.

"I am happy because we played with confidence and it wasn't really very easy after the last match. We conceded on a mistake and that can happen but the level of attention was really very good for 90 minutes so I am very happy.

"But we know we have to gain the qualification in the next match. I think I am always confident but sometimes we had the wrong approach with matches so we need to be careful in every match."

A first in six years - the best of the stats

Malmo fans before the match
Malmo fans gathered outside the stadium with flares before the match kicked off in Sweden
  • Chelsea have won the first leg of a European knockout tie for the first time since April 2013 against Basel in the Europa League (2-1). They were winless in six such matches prior to this victory (D3, L3).
  • Malmo have been beaten at home in Europe for the first time since November 2015 against Paris St-Germain (5-0), ending a run of eight games without defeat in front of their own fans (W2, D6).
  • Chelsea have kept just one clean sheet in their past 11 away games in all competitions - they had kept seven clean sheets in the 11 games prior to this run.
  • Malmo have lost five of their six meetings with English sides (W1), though Chelsea are the first such team to beat them in Sweden since Liverpool in September 1967.
  • Barkley scored Chelsea's first away goal in all competitions in 2019 - they haven't had to wait until February to score their first away goal of the year since 1997.
  • Giroud is the first Chelsea player to score in four successive games in European competition since Victor Moses in May 2013.

What's next?

Chelsea host Manchester United in the the FA Cup fifth round on Monday (19:30 GMT kick-off), three days before the return leg against Malmo at Stamford Bridge (20:00).


Malmö FF

Formation 5-3-2

  • 27Dahlin
  • 26Vindheim
  • 24Nielsen
  • 17Bengtsson
  • 4Safari
  • 5Rieks
  • 14ChristiansenSubstituted forGallat 82'minutes
  • 7Bachirou
  • 8TraustasonSubstituted forLewickiat 70'minutes
  • 23AntonssonSubstituted forStrandbergat 70'minutes
  • 9Rosenberg


  • 1Melichárek
  • 2Larsson
  • 3Binaku
  • 6Lewicki
  • 10Strandberg
  • 15Ahmedhodzic
  • 18Gall


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 27Christensen
  • 30David Luiz
  • 33Emerson
  • 17Kovacic
  • 5JorginhoSubstituted forKantéat 74'minutes
  • 8Barkley
  • 11PedroSubstituted forHudson-Odoiat 84'minutes
  • 18Giroud
  • 22WillianSubstituted forE Hazardat 71'minutes


  • 2Rüdiger
  • 7Kanté
  • 9Higuaín
  • 10E Hazard
  • 13Caballero
  • 20Hudson-Odoi
  • 21Zappacosta
Aleksey Kulbakov

Match Stats

Home TeamMalmö FFAway TeamChelsea
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Malmö FF 1, Chelsea 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Malmö FF 1, Chelsea 2.

  3. Post update

    Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Rasmus Bengtsson (Malmö FF).

  5. Post update

    Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Markus Rosenberg (Malmö FF).

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Eden Hazard with a cross.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Callum Hudson-Odoi replaces Pedro.

  10. Post update

    Offside, Chelsea. Olivier Giroud tries a through ball, but César Azpilicueta is caught offside.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Malmö FF. Romain Gall replaces Anders Christiansen.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Søren Rieks.

  13. Goal!

    Goal! Malmö FF 1, Chelsea 2. Anders Christiansen (Malmö FF) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Markus Rosenberg with a through ball following a fast break.

  14. Post update

    Foul by N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea).

  15. Post update

    Anders Christiansen (Malmö FF) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. N'Golo Kanté replaces Jorginho.

  17. Post update

    Ross Barkley (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Carlos Strandberg (Malmö FF).

  19. Post update

    Foul by Pedro (Chelsea).

  20. Post update

    Johan Dahlin (Malmö FF) wins a free kick in the defensive half.


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