A subdued, ineffective, and rather boring first half saw slow wave after slow wave of Chelsea attack break down easily on the packed 11-man wall that BATE Borisov erected around their penalty area. It was BATE who had come closest to scoring in fact, with a shot off crossbar.
Kepa’s best friend the crossbar would be rattled in the second half as well, but by then, Chelsea had taken the lead through an Olivier Giroud header — his first Chelsea goal of the season. Emerson the provider.
Chelsea then rode their luck as BATE looked for a quick equalizer, but Chelsea hung on despite multiple cheap giveaways (a theme all day) and instances of miscommunication (ditto). BATE managed to his the woodwork for a third time in the dying moments, too.
With the win, Chelsea are into the knockout round of the Europa Leauge with two games still to go. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t good, but the job is done.
- Usual rotated midweek lineup, save for Jorginho who kept his place after Fabregas came down with a fever, and Hazard, who played the first 60 minutes as part of his active recovery from the back injury
- Subs of Willian (for Hazard), Kovacic (for RLC), and Hudson-Odoi (for Pedro in a 5-minute cameo).
- Third 1-0 win in four Europa League group stage games.
- In other game, Vidi beat PAOK to move into second place in the group.
- That’s 17 unbeaten in a row for Chelsea!
- Next up: Everton on Sunday, then the last international break of the calendar year
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