April 14 (UPI) — Olivier Giroud scored twice to help Chelsea beat Southampton 3-2 Saturday at St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, England.
Southampton initially earned the lead in the 21st minute when Ryan Bertrand ran onto a through ball. He barely managed to get a pass off to his right in the Chelsea box, finding Dusan Tadic for the game’s first score.
The home club took the 1-0 edge into halftime before doubling its lead in the 60th minute. That time, James Ward-Prowse swung in a free kick. The offering hovered into the Chelsea box before Jan Bednarek tracked it to the ground and knocked it past Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois on his first touch.
Eden Hazard was fouled to spark Chelsea’s first score. The Blues controlled the resulting free kick to find Marcos Alonso. The Spanish defender then lofted a pass into the box, finding Giroud. The French forward headed the ball past Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy for his first score of the match.
Hazard came back five minutes later to score the equalizer. He took a pass from Willian in the 75th minute and settled it in the box. Hazard then blasted a shot past McCarthy with his left boot.
Chelsea completed the comeback in the 78th minute when Giroud scored his second. Willian laid off a free kick to Hazard on that play. Hazard dribbled in the box, before chipping a ball to the far post. The ball bounced around in the box before falling to Giroud. He ripped in the go-ahead score from about 18 yards out.
“I am very happy for Olivier,” Chelsea manager Antonio Conte told reporters after the match. “He scored but we changed something in the second half and the difference was the approach, the spirit and the will to fight and try not to lose another game.”
“We have two strikers and Olivier arrived at Chelsea in January after a bad muscular problem. Now he has good fitness and I try to make the best decisions for the game. Alvaro Morataa scored against Leicester and Tottenham. I have two good strikers and I try to make the best decision at the start or during the game. We must be happy we scored three times.”
The Blues face Burnley FC at 2:45 p.m. on Thursday at Turf Moor in Burnley, England.