Chelsea survive late Lille rally to reach last 16
Champions League Group H, Stamford Bridge – Chelsea 2 (Abraham 19 Azpilicueta 35) Lille 1 (Remy 78)
Chelsea squeezed into the Champions League knockout stages after surviving a late scare to beat Lille 2-1 to finish runners-up in their group.
The Blues, who needed to win to be sure of progressing, took the lead when a flowing Chelsea attack allowed Tammy Abraham to tap into an empty net, before Cesar Azpilicueta followed up with a header from a corner to make it two.
In the second half, Willian went close early with a free kick, and Mike Maignan - eventually substituted due to injury - was called into action to keep the score down twice in quick succession.
But there was late drama when former Chelsea striker Loic Remy pulled one back with 12 minutes of normal time remaining. Chelsea were a goal from potentially going out.
That shock reinvigorated a nervy Chelsea team who were able to hold on through five minutes of added time as Frank Lampard looked on with concern, though not before Remy wasted a late chance of an equaliser.
Cesar Azpilicueta celebratesGetty Images
How far can Chelsea go in the next rounds? They have steadily improved with Frank Lampard in charge but there remains a defensive weakness. Tonight against Lille, Antonio Rudiger proved a solid presence and he might persuade the manager to invest elsewhere in January. This Chelsea side probably won’t win the whole thing, but they could provide a stern test to any opponent they draw.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Willian (Chelsea): After a couple of years on the naughty step with many Chelsea fans, Willian continues to impress under Lampard. He was a direct and inventive threat on both wings, and helped set up the opener with his assist for Tammy Abraham.
17’ - KANTE SHOT! Kante has a shot blocked on the edge of the box. It comes back to him and it looks like he's broken the deadlock, but his shot goes inches wide of the near post.
19’ - GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Lille (Abraham). Kante chests the ball into the path of Pulisic, who advances and sends the ball right to Willian. He drives into the box, to the byline, and then slides a pass into the six yard box for Abraham to tap in.
35’ - GOAL! Chelsea 2-0 Lille (Azpilicueta). The Chelsea captain meets Emerson's corner from the right wing at the near post, and he glances a powerful header past the 'keeper, who has no time to move.
46’ - MAIGNAN SAVES! Pulisic and Willian both go close early on, but Maignan beats away both efforts in quick succession.
49’ - WILLIAN FREE KICK! Willian loops a free kick towards the bottom corner from 30 yards out, but Maignan saves, needing a second chance to stop it bobbling away to an attacker.
88’ - BATSHUAYI VOLLEY! Kante finds Willian on the left. He skins his man, and a deflected cross is worked to Batshuayi, who spins and volleys an effort acrobatically over the bar.