Thomas Tuchel sets new Champions League record as Chelsea march into quarterfinals
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Thomas Tuchel sets new Champions League record as Chelsea march into quarterfinals

Champions swat French champions aside with controlled performance

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel became the manager with most wins in his first 50 UEFA Champions League games as his side came from behind the claim a 2-1 win in their Round of 16 second leg clash against Lille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Chelsea’s preparation for the match was punctuated by problems surrounding their ownership, with their participation in the match doubtful at a point in time. This did not stop Thomas Tuchel and his players from delivering another quality performance after their 2-0 first leg win.

Chelsea were in control of the match for most of the opening exchanges as they managed to take the sting out of attacks by the French champions before they were stunned in the first half.

Jorginho was deemed to have handled the ball in Chelsea’s box as they defended a set-piece, allowing 36-year-old striker Burak Yilmaz to smash a brilliant penalty into the back of the net in the 38th minute.

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Chelsea were not behind for long before their in-form winger Christian Pulisic drew them level in the third minute of first half added time. The American forward received a defence-splitting pass from Jorginho before arrowing a finish into the far corner to level matters just before half-time.

Chelsea resumed the second half in the same fashion as they continued to dominate possession. Lille, however, were not going down without a fight and nearly put themselves ahead in the game once more when a header from Xeka beat a stranded Edouard Mendy but cannoned back off the upright.

The European champions then showed their ruthlessness as they strung together a series of passes before substitute Mason Mount delivered a peach of a ball into the path of captain Cesar Azpilicueta to smash home after 71 minutes on the day he became the Chelsea player with the joint-third highest European competitions appearances after John Terry and Frank Lampard.

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Chelsea created a number of openings but ultimately settled for their 2-1 away win and 4-1 aggregate win, giving manager Thomas Tuchel his 32nd win in his first 50 Champions League games.

Thomas Tuchel beat the previous record of 31 wins in his first 50 games held by former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane. The present FIFA The Best Coach of the Year has now joined the exclusive company of Pep Guardiola and Zidane in winning 30 or more of their first 50 games in the competition.

Salahudeen Sulayman

Sulayman is a sports enthusiast and budding Sports writer. You can reach him on Twitter @Sulayman_Salah

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