Willian’s brilliant late strike gave Chelsea a valuable 2-1 win against Lille on Wednesday they will expect kickstarts their Champions League campaign, but it had been the youthful stars in Frank Lampard’s side that stole the show again.
The Brazilian volleyed home at the 78th minute to determine the match below the roof in the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on which exactly was his 300th appearance for the club.
Tammy Abraham had previously put Chelsea before his 22nd birthday with his eighth goal this year, just for Victor Osimhen to equalize for Lille.
“Overall it was a fantastic game. It is never an easy place to perform.
Lampard’s team confronts Ajax second and will do this with renewed belief following this victory.
“It’s such a difficult spot — that the roof was on the crowd were up for this, the pace in their group and about the counter-attack particularly was quite evident, therefore we needed to be prepared for it and that I thought our performance was really great,” said Lampard.
It was a game made by a few of the most seasoned players around the pitch but that was bristling with fascinating young talent since these clubs adapt to watching their standout players — Eden Hazard on one aspect, Nicolas Pepe on another — leave in the near season.
Lampard fielded two 24-year-olds in addition to four players aged 22 or below his line-up here, as adolescent Reece James began as an ideal wing-back at a 3-4-1-2 system.
“This is not a match for niceties, we must go and win those games and improve all of the time and there have been heaps of signs of group advancement tonight, and people,” Lampard added.
“The young players are reacting and they must keep doing it since the Champions League degree is something different.”
Much was made of Lampard’s marketing of youth this year in reaction to Chelsea’s transfer ban, though their group here also featured N’Golo Kante, together with the France midfielder coming from his most recent spell out.
Indeed, the typical age of Chelsea’s staff at kick-off was a year older than that of Lille.
- Hudson-Odoi helps alter match –
Lille looked the better side moving forward for long spells and Luiz Araujo was refused with a great Kepa Arrizabalaga save only after the half-hour.
Seconds later they were flat, Jonathan Bamba sending at a corner by the left for Osimhen, the gangly 20-year-old Nigerian striker signed in the summertime, to venture in his seventh of the effort.
Jorginho struck the exterior of this article using a first time attack from range before half-time, whilst Kepa tipped a Benjamin Andre header round the post in the second half.
On the other hand, the debut of Hudson-Odoi, the youngest of this lot at only 18, for James midway through the second half, and following reversal of creation, breathed fresh life to the people.
Mason Mount was refused by Mike Maignan shortly after, and only 12 minutes remained when winger Hudson-Odoi crossed in the left all of the way into the trunk where Willian connected using a volley that bounced down to the floor, over the goalkeeper’s mind and in.
There was no way back for Lille, that have failed to win any of the last 13 games in Europe.
“They’re utilized to playing games like these every weekend, even in Europe annually, and we noticed the gap which exists between people,” explained Lille trainer Christophe Galtier.