Champions League: Chelsea steps on the accelerator | sports

The champion does not stop, he circulates at full speed. An advantage of two goals leaves Chelsea one step away from the quarterfinals of a competition in which last season he showed what he is capable of in a competitive scheme that does not require regularity. Ranked second in their group, the London team found a friendly draw that matched them against Lille, a sweet treat among all the options that awaited them. The French champion is an estimable team, but it is not at the highest European level, located as it is in the middle of the table in the domestic competition. At Stamford Bridge he barely tickled his rival and he embarked on a complicated comeback at his stadium to enter the top eight teams in Europe for the first time. It seems too much.


Edouard Mendy, Rüdiger, A. Christensen, Thiago Silva, Marcos Alonso (Malang Sarr, min. 79), Azpilicueta, Kovacic (Loftus-Cheek, min. 50), Kante, Hakim Ziyech (Saúl, min. 59), Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic (Timo Werner, min. 79)


Little bit

Leonardo Cesar Jardim, Zeki Celik, Sven Botman, Tiago Djalo (Gabriel Gudmundsson, min. 75), Fonte, Renato Sanches (Ben Arfa, min. 80), Andre, Jonathan Bamba, Amadou Onana (Yilmaz, min. 64), Xeka and Jonathan David (Edon Zhegrova, min. 80)

goals 1-0 min. 7: Kai Havertz. 2-0 min. 62: Christian Pulisic.

Referee Jesus Gil Manzano

Yellow cards Loftus-Cheek (min. 82) and Ben Arfa (min. 86)

The ball began to roll and Chelsea stepped on the accelerator as if the game lasted 10 minutes. At this level, and at times like this, when a team prints that rhythm and greases its collective disposition in that way, it doesn’t matter much that they don’t have big stars on the pitch. Lukaku, the team’s most expensive footballer, stayed on the bench. He has not just entered the eleven, when a replacement was necessary in the attack Werner went ahead of him in the ranking. To all the vicissitudes that the burly Belgian has been going through since his return to the London squad and his lack of harmony with the coach, Thomas Tuchel, one last debate is added: on the last day of the Premier, in the victory against Crystal Palace, his disconnection it was such that he barely touched the ball seven times during 90 minutes.

Nobody missed Lukaku in a game that was not played in the areas, frenetic and unleashed, with a start in which the strikers did not stop exchanging positions and Havertz scored after taking advantage of a good serve from Azpilicueta. In eight minutes, Chelsea had generated three clear scoring chances for the French champion, who seemed on the way to catastrophe.

But the goal tempered the local excitement. Lille had the resources to take the ball, handle it and stop that fury. He found those tools in the mobility of Renato Sanches, who started from the right and sought to join in any sector. His dynamism gave life to Lille, but in reality it was make-up: Chelsea always knew very well where their game was. He bet to look for the steal and in case of stealing the ball, go out to sprint with two driving specialists, Kanté and Kovacic. Nor was it a match for Jorginho, another who sat next to Tuchel.

a vibrant style

Kanté finished a recital. He warned midway through the first half in an action that Ziyech could not complete and hit the target on the way to the halfway point of the second half when he again ran amok and acted like a knife in butter to give Pulisic the second goal. Everything was fast, tipsy, among the excited noise of the stands. There are many beautiful and effective ways to play football, but on top of all that, Chelsea’s style is vibrant.

Lille found no answers and barely got Mendy to make his debut under the Chelsea goalposts. Two down on the scoreboard, he was forced to look for the opposite field, gasoline for the London team, which nevertheless avoided risks and did not open up. He was not in too much trouble. Lille sent balls into the area, but Rüdiger emerged there, exuberant, to support his team.

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