Chelsea were 4-1 up at half-time, sailing into the final four of the Europa League and the only question at half-time seemed to be how many more Chelsea would add.
Chelsea’s opening goal was splendid, featuring one-touch tippy-tappy football from Cesar Azpilicueta and Olivier Giroud before Pedro darted into the penalty area and clipped over the dive of Ondrej Kolar. The second came before the ten-minute mark and it was accompanied by a dash of slapstick.
Pedro appeared certain to strike his second but somehow tapped against the post from two yards out. It was most probably the worst miss of the Spaniard’s career but fortune favored Chelsea and the ball rebounded off the woodwork and against the face of Simon Deli into his own goal.
The Slavia defence was perilously high – a baffling feature of the first half – and Giroud released Hazard down the left, who slid the ball across goal.
Hazard played in full-back Emerson Palmieri, whose low cross evaded Giroud but Pedro pounced at the far post for his second of the evening with eighteen minutes of the first half still to play.
Slavia was wretched for 45 minutes, were a team transformed. They tore down the Chelsea left, as Jaromir Zmrhal crossed superbly and Sevcik arrived on cue and seemed sure to slash in his hat-trick. Instead, he slipped while striking the ball and ended up on his backside. Had he scored then, Slavia now required three goals without reply to qualify and the belief seemed to be seeping out of the visitors like water disappearing down the drain. In the 17th minute, it was N’Golo Kante’s turn to expose the high line, threading a pass in behind for Pedro who raced through and teed up Giroud for the third Game over? Not a bit of it.