Chelsea held on to their first-half lead, courtesy of goals from Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta, and survived nerve-wracking final minutes to defeat Lille 2-1 in their last group league match to advance into the Round of 16 of the ongoing UEFA Champions League.
Champions League last-16, here we come! 💙#CHELOSC pic.twitter.com/TUSmGlHKOZ
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) December 10, 2019
Desperately needing a win to qualify for the next round, The Blues began the match at the Stamford Bridge with all guns blazing. They dominated almost the entire length of the match and survived a late scare from the visitors to ensure their first Champions League home victory in six games.
Amidst a downpour, Abraham opened the scoring of the night. A brilliant play from Kante and Christian Pulisic outside the edge of Lille’s box saw Willian with a lot of space in the right flank. After receiving the ball from Pulisic, the Brazilian provided an inch-perfect pass for Abraham to have an easy tap-in into the goal.
Lampard’s Londoners doubled their lead in the 35th minute when Azpilicueta headed a corner from Emerson before the next 10 minutes of the first half went goalless.
The second half saw Chelsea controlling the game with ease. But what was about to be a comfortable day at the office, turned hectic for the hosts after their former colleague Loic Remy pulled one for the visitors.
Lille came close to score the equaliser which would have sent Chelsea out of the European competition. But Kepa Arrizabalaga proved to be the difference under the woods.
“It did get twitchy. We need to take our chances better. At 2-0, I thought it was not quite done and when Lille scored it made it a more nervy finish to the game than it needed to be,” Chelsea coach Lampard was quoted as saying by Reuters after the match.
Lille coach Christophe Galtier, on the other hand, sad that his players struggled in the opening 30 minutes due to the rain and wind that had a strong presence in London on Tuesday night.
“Chelsea seemed to play a bit less in the second half. We got more of the ball and we deserved to get our goal. It made the match more interesting than what went before it. We could have scored a second goal,” Galtier said.
In the other match of Group H, Valencia beat Ajax 1-0 to step into the next round as the group-topper.