Chelsea recover against Lille to reach Champions League quarter-finals

Chelsea Lille Christian Pulisic March 2022

Chelsea marched into the Champions League quarter-finals after a 2-1 win in France against Lille on Wednesday night saw them progress 4-1 on aggregate.

The Blues soaked up plenty of pressure and even went behind before goals from Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta helped them to a comfortable aggregate win.

Pulisic and Kai Havertz started up front as Chelsea went with a 3-5-2 formation for their Champions League last-16 second-leg clash at Lille.

The Blues took a 2-0 advantage to Stade Pierre Mauroy, and made five changes from Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Newcastle.

Mason Mount dropped out of the starting XI, with Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic forming a midfield trio.

Renato Sanches missed out through injury for Lille, who had Canada striker Jonathan David up front.

Just ahead of kick-off Lord Sebastian Coe announced he had joined Sir Martin Broughton’s consortium bid to buy Chelsea.

The 2012 London Olympics chief has thrown his weight behind former Liverpool chairman Broughton’s attempt to take control of the Blues.

But while that was welcome news off the pitch, on the pitch Thomas Tuchel’s men struggled early on.

Lille scored from the spot on 38 minutes through Burak Yilmaz to give the hosts a lifeline.

Xeka chested the ball towards Jorginho inside the area, and it struck the Chelsea midfielder’s arm at close range.

The VAR encouraged the on-field referee to check the pitchside monitor and a penalty was awarded, which Yilmaz converted into the top corner.

Just moments before that Andreas Christensen was subbed through injury. 

Trevoh Chalobah replaced him and went straight into the referee’s notebook for fouling David just outside the area.

Before that Lille has done much of the pressing, but it looked as though Chelsea had weathered the storm, before Yilmaz struck.

However, the Blues were level in first-half stoppage time.

Lille hit the upright

Jorginho found a yard of space around 20 yards from goal and picked out Pulisic in the box. The American winger then did the rest by cutting inside and steering the ball home at the far post. It left the keeper Jardim with no chance.

Just five minutes after the break Yilmaz almost scored again. Bamba clipped the ball up towards the penalty spot, Yilmaz beat Chalobah to it, but his header drifted narrowly wide.

And on 63 minutes Lille came even closer after a brilliant cross from the right from Yilmaz. He picked out Xeka in the centre of the area, unmarked, but the Lille midfielder could only steer his header against the upright.

But it was Chelsea who grabbed the next goal. Sub Mason Mount crossed from the left towards the back post. And there was Azpilicueta galloping in from the right wing to guide the ball home from close range

Azpilicueta was them back at the other end shuffling the ball to safety after neat footwork by Yilmaz. Hatem Ben Arfa got the ball in space by the byline, but Azpilicueta chased back to hustle the ball out for a Chelsea goal kick.

Jardim was then quickly off his line to deny Marcos Alonso as Tuchel’s men took the victory.

READ MORE: Arsenal enquire about blockbuster signing which would break the hearts of Premier League rival