Champions Chelsea sweep Lille aside in UCL Round of 16
Blues set new record in Champions League football
Reigning champions Chelsea claimed a straightforward 2-0 win at home to French side LOSC Lille in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg at Stamford Bridge.
Having been drawn against French Ligue 1 champions Lille for the first knockout round, Chelsea hosted the first leg because they finished second in their own group. The Blues did not look like a side that finished second from the first blast of the whistle.
With a lot of chatter about his contribution to the team ongoing, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel deciding to drop record signing Romelu Lukaku, with Kai Havertz preferred to lead the line.
Havertz missed the game’s first real chance inside five minutes, poking a low cross from captain Cesar Azpilicueta over the bar from close range. The German forward atoned for his miss quickly as he headed Chelsea in front following a brilliant corner from Hakim Ziyech in the 8th minute of the match.
After their goal, Chelsea allowed their tempo drop by several levels and Lille began to grow into the game. The French champions were, however, prevented from creating any clear-cut chances, ensuring that Chelsea retained their slim advantage.
Five minutes into the second half, Chelsea lost midfielder Mateo Kovacic to injury. Shortly after, Ziyech also had to go off injured with what looked like an achilles problem. Despite losing two key players, Chelsea got the sucker punch and put the match to bed just after the hour mark.
After picking up the ball in his half, N’Golo Kante embarked on a lung-bursting run into Lille’s half of the pitch before laying off a pass for Christian Pulisic to calmly slot beyond the despairing dive of Lille goalkeeper Leo Jardim.
Chelsea held on for a 2-0 win that makes them the first English team in the history of European competition to win five successive home games without conceding a goal in the competition. The Blues will now turn their attention to Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley.