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Malmo 0-1 Chelsea: Hakim Ziyech Scores Winner After Tough Test in Sweden

Chelsea are one step further towards qualification for the Champions League knockout stages as they beat Malmo 1-0 in Sweden. 

The Blues enjoyed plenty of possession and chances in the first half, but were unable to get the breakthrough. 

However, they soon found the opener through Hakim Ziyech, who tapped in from a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross. 

Both Reece James and Ben Chilwell were rested for this game, with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso coming in to replace them. Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his first Champions League start for six years.

Inside the opening four minutes, Kai Havertz went down in the penalty area and calls for a penalty were made, but replays showed the defender won the ball first and VAR confirmed that no spot kick should be awarded.

Hudson-Odoi made a strong run down the left hand side, but his eventual cross failed to reach his intended target.

Ziyech soon did well to maintain possession before spreading wide to Alonso, who's low cross into the box was cleared by the Malmo defence.

The hosts then had the chance to break down the other end of the pitch, but the Blues defence did well to snuff out the danger.

Alonso found space on the edge of the box, but his effort went high and wide of the goal.

Azpilicueta was the next player to have an opportunity, with the Malmo keeper Johan Dahlin having to push behind his attempt on goal.

Loftus-Cheek soon saw his looping header travel narrowly wide of the post.

The midfielder had another effort towards goal shortly after, but his shot curled over the bar.

Ziyech was involved in the action once again for Chelsea, this time a clever piece of skill was followed by shot on target that was saved by Dahlin.

Another Blues corner was met by Loftus-Cheek but his header went wide of the post.

Overall, the opening 25 minutes saw Chelsea dominate the possession and chances, but had so far been unable to really test the Malmo defence.

The hosts soon had a penalty shout of their own, but the referee was quick to wave away the protests.

Havertz had a great chance to open the scoring after some neat play in the Blues midfield, but Dahlin did well once again to deny the visitors.

Andreas Christensen, who scored his first goal for Chelsea in the reverse tie, saw a long range effort on goal saved by the goalkeeper.

Alonso was in acres of space on the left hand side of the area, but his low drive towards goal was comfortably saved.

The Spaniard had another chance on goal soon after, but the defender was able to get to the ball ahead of him and head it behind for a corner.

Malmo were very close to opening the scoring just before the break, but an audacious volley went wide of Edouard Mendy's goal.

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At half time, the score was 0-0.

Neither side made any changes at the break.

Hudson-Odoi and Ziyech both switched positions on the wings, with the former going right and the latter going left.

Loftus-Cheek once again made a great run through the middle but his pass towards Ziyech was intercepted.

Soren Rieks then saw his attempt for Malmo sail over the bar.

Loftus-Cheek, who was throughly enjoying himself on the pitch, saw another effort tipped behind for a corner.

Soon later, Ziyech made it 1-0 to Chelsea on 56 minutes!

Havertz found the run of Hudson-Odoi on the right, who then played a fantastic cross towards the back post for Ziyech to tap it in.

The Moroccan was keen to add a second, but he was unable to control a looping cross into the box.

Chelsea continued to press in the search for a second of the evening, with Havertz forcing another corner as the game entered the final 25 minutes or so.

Thiago Silva was the first player to be booked by the referee.

The Blues made their first substitutions of the evening, with Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi being replaced by Ross Barkley and Christian Pulisic respectively.

Pulisic, who made his first appearance since injury, got stuck in straight away as he looked to create chances in the box.

Havertz was once again denied by Dahlin, with the German struggling to score past the goalkeeper.

As the final few minutes of the game played out, Chelsea were still looking to score again, with Malmo holding firm.

The hosts tried to launch an attack down the right, but the offside flag was swiftly raised.

Chelsea's defence were called into action to clear a Malmo cross, with the home side pressing in the final stages. 

However, the Blues were soon able to counter the hosts and see out the game in the last few moments.

Pulisic had a great chance to double the lead, but his effort round the keeper hit the side netting.

The win sees them move closer to qualifying out of the group stages as they continue the defence of their European crown.

Chelsea next face Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday.

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