Chelsea secure spot in Champions League round of 16 after narrow victory over Lille

Chelsea vs Lille

Chelsea played host to Lille on Tuesday evening, in what was their final Champions League group stage clash of the season.

The Blues started the day sat 3rd in their CL group.

Despite this, Frank Lampard’s side were still able to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages with a victory over the French outfit.

As for Lille, they began the day dead bottom of Group H, with absolutely no chance of qualifying.

Prior to facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Lille had amassed just one point from their previous five Champions League ties.

The teams

Given the fact that a Chelsea victory on Tuesday was of paramount importance, it wasn’t too surprising to see that they put out a strong eleven.

Chelsea were without Fikayo Tomori due to the defender having a hip issue.

Olivier Giroud was also out of the squad due to injury, but given the Frenchman’s reduced role this season, that wasn’t too much of a blow for the London outfit.

But Chelsea were given one boost on Tuesday, as Antonio Rudiger was handed his first start since suffering an injury vs Wolves in September.

As for Lille, they rested a few key players to take on Chelsea, such as Victor Osimhen.

Chelsea dominate

Given Chelsea were at home and had a much stronger eleven out, it wasn’t too surprising to see the Premier League outfit start the tie on the front foot.

Chelsea’s first decent chance of the evening fell to Christian Pulisic, who placed his effort wide.

Emerson then forced a solid save from the Lille goalkeeper with 15 minutes on the clock.

But while Chelsea had a smattering of chances in the opening exchanges, Lille were set up well, and Lampard’s side struggled to carve out any huge opportunities.

However, Lille’s resistance was eventually broken by Tammy Abraham with 18 minutes played.

Chelsea continued to dominate after the opening goal, and eventually doubled their lead 34 minutes in through Cesar Azpilicueta, who headed home from an Emerson corner.

The first 45 drew to a close with Lille unable to muster up a single effort on target.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 10: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and Lille OSC at Stamford Bridge on December 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Chelsea into last 16

Chelsea came out after the interval firing on all cylinders, with Willian and Pulisic both registering shots on target inside a minute of the second-half kicking off.

The Blues continued to enjoy their fair share of possession for the remainder of the second 45. But Lille would pull one back 78 minutes in with their first effort on target.

Substitute Michy Batshuayi probably should have restored Chelsea’s two-goal lead, with the Belgian missing a few decent chances.

But despite the late pressure from Lille and a couple of misses from Batshuayi, Chelsea managed to see out the rest of the tie without conceding another goal.

And after Liverpool secured their spot in the Champions League last-16 earlier on Tuesday with a comfortable 2-0 victory over RB Salzburg, Chelsea’s victory over Lille ensured that all four English sides will progress to the knockout stages.

Tottenham and Manchester City, who play their final group games on Wednesday, were already into the next round before this week’s CL action began.

See also: Dinamo Zagreb vs Manchester City betting tips: Champions League match preview & predictions

Bayern Munich vs Tottenham betting tips: Champions League match preview & predictions