Tammy Abraham, Chelsea Beat Lille 2-1, Progress to UCL Knockout Stages

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Tammy Abraham of Chelsea celebrates with team mates after scoring the opening 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 Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Chelsea coasted into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, earning a comfortable 2-1 win over Lille at Stamford Bridge.

Tammy Abraham opened the scoring for the home side, who dominated the early exchanges of the encounter, in the 19th minute. Lille, who had already been confirmed as the bottom side in Group H, then switched off from a corner, allowing Cesar Azpilicueta to head home.

Chelsea were in control in the second period, although they didn't kill the game off, allowing former Blues player Loic Remy to set up an edgy finish. However, the Premier League side were able to preserve their advantage.

The Blues knew a win would be enough to qualify, with Ajax and Valencia facing off in the night's other Group H fixture.

While Chelsea weren't guaranteed a spot in the last-16 before kick off, they would have been confident of getting the job done on the night against a Lille team that has underwhelmed so far in the competition.

From the off, it was clear there was a chasm in class between the two teams and Abraham took advantage, capitalising on some nice work from Willian to prod home from close range:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

A big, big goal for Chelsea! 🔵 Tammy Abraham makes no mistake to set the Blues on their way... https://t.co/v78SYFQ5Cv

B/R Football @brfootball

Chelsea can cut you apart ✨ https://t.co/PNXr53xUEi

Per the competition Twitter account, the England striker is excelling in front of his own fans at the moment:

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

🏟️ Tammy Abraham has scored in his last 3 appearances at Stamford Bridge in all competitions ⚽️ #UCL https://t.co/zBK60361K0

Chelsea were in total control from this point on and the Stamford Bridge crowd were enjoying watching some of their star attackers express themselves, with Christian Pulisic a constant threat.

With that in mind, it was a surprise the next goal came from a defender, as was the manner of it. Azpilicueta is not renowned for his finishing nor his aerial prowess, but he charged in unmarked to nod home a corner to double his side's advantage.

Liam Twomey of The Athletic reflected on what was a much better showing for Chelsea following their 3-1 loss at Everton:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

Very good half for Chelsea and the perfect response after Everton, even if Lille B haven’t mounted much resistance. Ajax in a bit of trouble... #cfc

With Lille lacking the desire and the quality to get back into the game in the second period, it was no shock that the match started to fizzle out in the second period, with Chelsea bossing the ball for long spells.

Pulisic was withdrawn by manager Frank Lampard, perhaps with the busy Christmas period in mind, and was given a standing ovation from his supporters. Per Squawka Football, he was a constant problem for Lille when on the field:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Christian Pulisic's game by numbers vs. Lille: 83% pass accuracy 51 touches 8 take-ons completed 8 touches in opp. box 5 recoveries 3 chances created 2 shots 1 shot on target Another dazzling display. ✨ https://t.co/sGrxDLRNNs

Chelsea saw a little too much complacency creep into their play in the final stages though and Lille were able to capitalise, with Remy thudding a hammer of a shot off the crossbar and over the line.

That did set up a potentially nervy finish for the home supporters, as a goal would have been enough to see the Blues eliminated given results elsewhere.

However, Lampard saw his side see out the final stages of the clash and will be delighted his side managed to advance from what was a potentially testing group.


What's Next?

The Blues are in action in the Premier League on Saturday against a struggling Bournemouth outfit. Lille have a quick turnaround, with a home clash against Montpellier to come in Ligue 1 on Friday.