Defending champions Chelsea breezed to a 2-0 win over Lille in the first leg of their Round of 16 Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
While the victory takes the Blues one step closer to moving into the UCL quarter final stage, it came at a huge cost as the host suffered a double injury blow.
The duo of Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech both limped off in the first leg of the Lille Champions League knockout tie ahead of the Carabao Cup final this weekend.
After an uninspiring outing at the weekend against Crystal Palace, Romelu Lukaku lost his place in the Chelsea starting lineup for the game against Lille.
Kai Havertz was elected to lead the line in Lukaku’s absence and he did not disappoint as he gave Chelsea the lead barely eight minutes into the game.
The German international’s shot led to the first corner play of the game in Chelsea’s favour, with Hakim Ziyech taking it.
Ziyech delivered a nice cross to the box that met Havertz on a free run towards the goal, meeting the ball with a downward header to beat the opposing shot-stopper and get Chelsea in the lead against Lille.
While many had thought the early goal will deflate Lille and lead to more goals for Chelsea, that was not the case as the French side held their own till the half time break
Chelsea had the upperhand in possession and chances created and they were able to extend their lead just after the hour-mark when Christian Pulisic produced a deft little finish as he attacked the left side of the six yard box and just chipped the ball into the opposite corner.
Thomas Tuchel’s men had a handful of other chances but it was just that two goals that were scored.
With that result, Chelsea are now unbeaten in their last 16 games at Stamford Bridge across all competitions.
In the day’s other tie, Samuel Chukuweze and his Villarreal teammates held Juventus to a 1-1 draw.
Dusan Vlahovic had a dream Champions League debut, scoring within 32 seconds, but Adrien Rabiot’s error allowed Daniel Parejo to equalise for Villarreal, as the Round of 16 remains evenly poised.
Chukwueze was on for 90 minutes before making way for Boulaye Dia
Andrien Rabiot was fortunate to avoid VAR and a possible red card moments later, as he scraped his studs down Chukwueze’s knee but he only received a booking.
Both sides will fancy their chances in the second leg in Turin in three weeks.
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