There was no problem for Chelsea against Lille despite the absence of Lukaku, as the Blues dispatched French champions, Lille, to secure a 2-nil win in their last sixteen first leg date.
Tuchel’s decision to drop the Belgian striker paid off as Kai Havertz could have netted a hat-trick in the first ten minutes.
First, his César Azpilicueta’s low cross before his bending left-footed curler was well tipped around the post by Léo Jardim.
Chelsea have scored more goals from corners than any other team in the Champions League this season and from the resulting set-piece, the former Bayer Leverkusen forward made the breakthrough, heading in Hakim Ziyech’s corner much to the delight of his manager.
The visitors despite having their ace midfielder, Renato Sanches dictating the game right from the middle of the park, were pretty awful with their pressing and marking generally.
Chelsea doubled their lead with a sweeping counter-attack in the sixty-third minute.
Thiago Silva started the incisive raid with a superb pass to N’Golo Kante, who advanced at speed towards the Lille area before slipping a pass to Pulisic.
Taking two touches, Pulisic steadied himself and clipped a composed finish past Jardim from ten yards.The win has put the current European and World Champions in a commanding place ahead of the return leg in France next month.
For Lille, the result is a validation to their ignominious display in recent times on the home front where they occupy the eleventh place on the log of the French topflight league, despite emerging champions last season.
This article was updated 9 months ago