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Chelsea beat Brighton 3-0 to bolster Champions League hopes

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By Reuters
Chelsea beat Brighton 3-0 to bolster Champions League hopes
Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - April 3, 2019 Chelsea's Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs   -   Copyright  MATTHEW CHILDS(Reuters)


Chelsea boosted their chances of a top-four finish by beating Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 at home on Wednesday, helped by an impressive first Premier League start from winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The 18-year-old, who last month made his first start for England but has struggled to feature for Chelsea, created the opener when he crossed for Olivier Giroud to score with a flick of the outside of his boot in the 38th minute.

Belgium’s Eden Hazard made it 2-0 on the hour when he collected a pass from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and curled a shot from the edge of the box past Mat Ryan. Three minutes later, Hazard repaid the favour, feeding Loftus-Cheek to fire home.

Chelsea overtook Manchester United to sit in fifth place in the Premier League on 63 points, level with fourth-placed Arsenal who have a game in hand, and one point behind Tottenham Hotspur in the chase for places in next season’s Champions League.

Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri, who said he understood the frustration of fans with his team’s inconsistent form before the kickoff, made seven changes from the starting 11 on Sunday when the Londoners laboured to a 2-1 away win at Cardiff.

Brighton, fighting to avoid being dragged into the relegation fight, remain 15th, five points above the relegation zone.

(Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Toby Davis)