Holders Chelsea are through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after resisting LOSC Lille’s resurgence, Christian Pulišić and César Azpilicueta scoring in northern France as the English side came from behind to wrap up a 4-1 aggregate win.
38′ Burak fires LOSC ahead from spot
45+3′ Pulišić levels after slick move
63′ Xeka header rattles upright
71′ Azpilicueta converts Mount cross
Match in brief: Chelsea class tells
The scoreline looks comfortable but make no mistake: Chelsea had their credentials checked in northern France. Former LOSC boss Rudi Garcia urged the hosts “to plant bits of madness into this encounter” and at times they succeeded. Just for a moment, when Burak Yılmaz fired in from the penalty spot, the holders were rocking.
Jorginho’s handball had led to the penalty and the midfielder quickly made amends just before the break, rounding off an intricate move with a lovely through ball that Pulišić collected before dispatching an unerring finish across goal into the bottom corner.
LOSC were not done yet, beginning the second period with renewed purpose. Burak went close, Agim Zeka went closer with a header against the post, but Azpilicueta calmed Chelsea nerves as he turned in Mason Mount’s cross with his knee to wrap up the tie.
PlayStation® Player of the Match: Christian Pulišić (Chelsea)
“Scored the crucial goal right on half-time to quell LOSC’s comeback hopes.”
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Ian Holyman, LOSC Lille reporter
Footballers always say the small details decide games. It’s a cliché, because it’s true. The hosts went in front and looked good, only for a lapse in concentration that meant they had to start from scratch. There were centimetres between them and a second goal just before Chelsea punished another drop in focus, thanks to a dollop of the fortune that had deserted LOSC. It all adds up to one larger detail: the French champions are out.
Joe Terry, Chelsea reporter
There were moments in the first half, just after Burak’s penalty, when it seemed Chelsea might crumble. However, Thomas Tuchel’s team are excellent at riding out difficult moments, confident that their discipline, quality and mental strength will seem them through. That proved the case again with both of Chelsea’s goals coming at the perfect moment: on the stroke of half-time and just after a spell of LOSC dominance. Ultimately, the Blues were a class above.
Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea manager: “Brilliant! Again we’re in the quarter-finals, it’s a big step. We showed resilience, mentality and overcame difficulties. We did what was necessary and dug in.”
César Azpilicueta, Chelsea defender: “We didn’t start very well. Lille were very active. Sometimes we played in the spaces and sometimes we made a few mistakes. We are happy to make it through.”
Jocelyn Gourvennec, LOSC coach: “We did really well; the players can be proud. The fans were exceptional. We showed heart and bravery. It’s tough to lose, we didn’t deserve that. We leave with our heads held high.”
Jonathan David, LOSC forward: “It came down to small details. We played a great first half; they scored from their only chance of the half. It was a good performance, but we lost.”
- Chelsea are through to the Champions League quarter-finals for the 11th time.
- With 32 wins, Tuchel has the best winning record of any manager in their first 50 Champions League matches. He surpasses Zinédine Zidane (31).
- Burak Yılmaz (36y 244d) is the third oldest scorer in the Champions League knockout phase behind Ryan Giggs (37y 148d) and Paolo Maldini (36y 333d).
- Chelsea have won each of their last six Champions League matches against French clubs.
LOSC Lille: Jardim; Fonte, Botman (Onana 58), Tiago Djaló; Zeki Çelik (Weah 58), Bamba (Angel Gomes 78), Xeka, André, Gudmundsson (Bradarić 78); Burak Yılmaz, David (Ben Arfa 77)
Chelsea: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen (Chalobah 33), Thiago Silva, Rüdiger, Alonso; Kanté, Jorginho (Loftus-Cheek 74), Kovačić (Mount 46); Havertz (Ziyech 83), Pulišić (Lukaku 74)
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