On Tuesday Chelsea reached the last 16 of the Champions League by defeating Rennes with a score of 2-1 after a late Olivier Giroud strike gave the win over Rennes. Chelsea still has two matches left in their group.
The French forward struck a solid header in injury time which secured the points for Frank Lampard’s side after Serhou Guirassy had earlier levelled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s first-half opener. Chelsea will be joining in the next phase by Group E rivals Sevilla after the Spanish side won 2-1 against Krasnodar. With both sides being on 10 points, nine ahead of third-placed Krasnodar, will now have to clash for first place come the end of the group stage.
With Premier League table topper Tottenham Hotspur visiting Stamford Bridge at the weekend, Chelsea can now focus on domestic duties, thanks to out-of-favour Giroud, who has been said to leave in January as he seeks more regular football ahead of next summer’s European Championship.
Lampard said to British broadcaster BT Sport, “I have a problem because we have Tammy who’s playing well… I have two players in a similar position fighting for a place. That’s a good problem.”
“Olly (Giroud) will get his minutes because we have a busy schedule, we’re playing every few days.”
Chelsea scored the opener as early as the seventh minute, when Timo Werner flashed Hudson-Odoi’s low cross over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
The early dominance of the blues resulted in the 22nd minute following superb play from Mason Mount, who won the ball near his own area before spotting the marauding Hudson-Odoi on the right.
Mount picked out his fellow Chelsea academy graduate with a long pass. The wing player took two touches before going past Alfred Gomis.
England international Mount got the chance to double their side’s lead eight minutes later but Gomis pulled off an amazing save to keep out his close-range effort following a Ben Chilwell pull-back.
Chelsea Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy on the other hand, had a quiet start to his return to the club from whom Chelsea signed him in the summer, but the hosts got a foothold in the contest after a shaky opening period.
James Lea Siliki shot over in the 32nd minute after the ball rebounded to him off Kurt Zouma kick. Rennes then began to attack and test Chelsea’s defence.
Mendy displayed a good show with the gloves for Chelsea with solid saves from Guirassy and Damien Da Silva towards the end of the first half.
Chelsea’s fans were disappointed when thought they had added a second right after the half time but Werner’s header was given offside. After that Rennes continued to press attack that give Chelsea some scare.
Mendy made a stunning save of the match at the 73rd minute when he got his body in the way of a powerful Gerzino Nyamsi header, and then jumped to stop a goal on the rebound.
Rennes did scored the equalizer with five minutes remaining when an unmarked Guirassy thumped a header past Mendy.
But Giroud pounced less than a minute into stoppage time after Gomis’ save from another Werner miss bounced up, allowing the Frenchman to lead Chelsea into the last 16.