Tammy Abraham scored on his 22nd Birthday in the 22nd minute to help us on our way to victory in France, as we beat Lille 1-2. This Champions League victory included four academy players, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, all making their Champions League debuts, away from home. Mason Mount was the only one of the four who had experienced competitive European football away from home, when he played on loan at Vitese Arnhem during their 2017/18 Europa League campaign.
Chelsea dominated possession during the first twenty minutes of this game and the possession culminated in the first goal in the 22nd minute when Fikayo Tomori played a wonderful ball from midfield through to Tammy Abraham in the six yard box; Tammy swivelled and struck a shot to the right of keeper Maignan to give us a well-deserved lead, although, at first there was a scare that Tammy could be ruled offside, however, VAR confirmed the goal to put us 0-1 ahead. The goal woke Lille up and, on the break, they showed superb pace. Their pace bought about the equaliser ten minutes after Tammy’s strike; a corner was conceded after a great run, which culminated in a shot by Neto which Kepa palmed out to Reece James who conceded the corner.
From the corner Osimhen rose highest between Tomori and Zouma and headed Lille back into the game. Conceding from set-pieces and corners have been our defensive downfall so far this season; marking space instead of the man is something that the coaching staff may well have to look at for future games.
As the game was nearing half time a beautiful, curling Jorginho strike, almost gave us the lead back. The ball hit the outside of the post with the keeper beaten. The start of the second half gave us food for thought. Another Lille corner found the head of Andre who narrowly missed the far post, which left Kepa scrambling. A draw, in all honesty, wasn’t good enough for either side, especially as both teams had lost their opening games to Ajax and Valencia, respectively. In the end, thankfully, it was Chelsea who came away with the all-important three points and the 1-2 victory. In the 78th minute Callum Hudson-Odoi, who had replaced Reece James in the 67th minute hit a perfect cross-field ball from the left which found Willian, who, on the volley, hit the ball into the turf and past Maignan.
There was a brief scare at the end of the game as Kepa had to save at the feet of Osimhen and substitute Renato Sanches also had an effort, but all-in-all, the victory was well deserved. Our next Champions League game sees us go to Amsterdam on October 23 to face Ajax, in what will be another vital game for qualification to the knockout stages. However, confidence should be high after such a great display from such a young Chelsea team on the European stage and who wouldn’t bet on this young Chelsea side to be the London Dam Busters.
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Tomori; James (Hudson-Odoi 67), Kante, Jorgiho, Alonso; Willian (Pedro 84), Abraham, Mount (Kovacic 87
Referee: Aleksei Kubalov (Belarus)