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Abraham, Azpilicueta Score as Chelsea Advances to Knockout Stage in Champions League

There was a late scare for the home side but in the end Chelsea held on against Lille and advanced to the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Thanks to goals from Tammy Abraham and Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea defeated Lille 2-1 in the final match of Group H as Frank Lampard's side qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League.

In the other game, Valencia overcame Ajax 1-0 and sent the Dutch side, who reached last season's semifinals, out of the tournament.

The first ten minutes were mostly dominated by Chelsea but Lille was clear in its strategy, looking to contain and counter at any given opportunity. Christian Pulisic had a great chance to make it 1-0 in the 10th minute but his weaker left foot could not connect properly and went wide. 

Chelsea came close five minutes later after Emerson hit a low ball from close range but Lille stopper Mike Maignan came strong to deny the full back. N'Golo Kante was also denied after this effort went wide.

Finally, the goal came thanks to Tammy Abraham after Willian's low cross only needed the striker to tap it in from close range.

After the goal, Chelsea was in complete control, moving the ball swiftly and with precision. All Lille could do, as mentioned earlier, was hope for the counter. 

Cesar Azpilicueta made it 2-0 thanks after the Spanish veteran headed in from a corner. Chelsea was in the driving seat and with one foot in the knockout stage.

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The second half began with the same energy as the first as the home side looked for more goals. Lille, in fact, struggled to get out of its own half as Chelsea kept pressing, especially on the right hand side through Kante and the goalscorer Azpilicueta. 

With twenty minutes remaining, Chelsea could afford to take this to second gear as Lille offered very little. Blues had almost 70% of possession and Lampard knew it could afford to give its main stars a break.

But perhaps that was a mistake from the manager as Loic Remy earned a goal back for the visiting team, scoring a powerful effort. As we reached the final stages of the game, Chelsea allowed Lille to push as it held on to its 2-1 lead. 

Remy had another glorious chance to score in stoppage time but his attempt went straight to the hands of Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

In the end, Chelsea withstood the late pressure and won 2-1, reaching the last 16 of the Champions League. It was a great achievement for Frank Lampard as he became the first English head coach since Harry Redknapp (with Tottenham) to do so. 

Here were the starting lineups for today:

The Champions League draw for next year's Round of 16 takes place on Monday.