Pulisic after scoring one of the goals.
Champions League: Blues take commanding first leg lead
A much-improved Chelsea secured a comfortable first leg lead over Lille in the Champions League last 16 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
It was all about game management for Thomas Tuchel’s side, who never looked like conceding and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners courtesy of strikes from Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.
Starting centrally after the faltering Romelu Lukaku was dropped, Havertz was the protagonist in the opening exchanges – spurning two fine chances and before taking a third inside ten minutes. First, Cesar Azpilicueta found him with a low cross just four minutes in, but just four yards out the German conspired to lift a prodded finish over the bar.
Next came a chance of the languid forward’s own making, as he collected a pass on the left flank before cutting inside and bending a shot towards the far corner. Lille keeper Leo Jardim produced an excellent save to palm the ball around the post, but from the resulting corner Havertz rose unmarked to head Chelsea into the lead.
The hosts seemed contented with Lille having possession thereafter, picking them off and playing through the Ligue 1 sides’s slightly disjointed press on the counter. Les Dogues’ best effort actually came from a Chelsea player, when Antonio Rudiger inadvertently diverted a cross just over his own crossbar.