Chelsea survive Lille scare to reach last-16

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.

Question is, how far can Chelsea go in the next rounds? They have steadily improved with Frank Lampard in charge, but there remains a defensive weakness.  Against Lille, Antonio Rudiger proved a solid presence and he might persuade the manager to invest elsewhere in January.

This Chelsea side probably would not win the whole thing, but they could provide a stern test to any opponent they draw. – Eurosport

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