LONDON – Chelsea survived a nerve-jangling finale to their 2-1 win over Lille on Tuesday, eventually holding on to clinch a place in the Champions League knock-out stages thanks to first-half goals from Tammy Abraham and captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
Chelsea, who needed a victory to make sure of qualification, had gone five Champions League games at Stamford Bridge without a victory, their longest such run at home in the competition.
They dominated almost the entire game yet Lille, who were already condemned to the bottom spot of Group H and fielded an under-strength side, scored in the 78th minute and came close to a late equaliser that would have eliminated Chelsea.
Victory left Chelsea second in the group on 11 points behind Valencia, who won 1-0 at Ajax Amsterdam, consigning the Dutch champions to third place and elimination. Lille ended with just one point.
"It did get twitchy," Chelsea coach Frank Lampard said. "We need to take our chances better. At 2-0, I thought it was not quite done and when Lille scored it made it a more nervy finish to the game than it needed to be."