Chelsea secured a 2-1 victory against Rennes and advanced to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with two matches to spare. Goals either side of halftime from Callum Hudson-Odoi and Olivier Giroud sealed the win for Frank Lampard's men.
Chelsea gave the impression to everyone that this could be a rampage. Timo Werner was played in through early on but failed to finish from five yards. It was yet another sitter that was begging to be passed into the back of the net.
Mason Mount portrayed his attributes as a hard-working midfielder, battling for the ball, winning it back and then playing one of the most exquisite passes of the season to Hudson-Odoi.
The latter, who received a rare start, made no mistake, as he rolled the ball past an in-form Alfred Gomis. Rennes, however, grew into the game as half-time approached.
While the second-half was tough work for Chelsea's defenders, who stood up to their task, Tammy Abraham had an appeal for a penalty that was given against him. On another day, that could have been a spot-kick for Chelsea.
Edouard Mendy came to Chelsea's rescue not once but twice, when he produced a stunning double save off a set-piece. He kept the Blues in the game when there was an apparent lack of thrust from their end.
Just when it looked like Chelsea would secure a hard-fought Champions League victory with a host of substitutes, Serhou Guirassy beat his former teammate Mendy to restore parity.
Against the run of play, Olivier Giroud came off the bench to do what he does best. The Frenchman scored a header in the first minute of stoppage time to break the home side's hearts late in the game.
Lampard's side made it through to the knockout stages with two games to spare and will now turn their attention to the crucial Premier League encounter against Tottenham Hotspur later this week.
Published 25 Nov 2020, 02:02 IST