Tammy Abraham tapped home a fine team goal as Chelsea saw off Lille 2-1 at Stamford Bridge to reach the Champions League’s last 16.
England hitman Abraham notched his 13th Chelsea goal in all competitions this term, with Cesar Azpilicueta heading in from Emerson’s corner.
Former Blues striker Loic Remy blasted in an impressive late strike but Chelsea rebuffed the Lille comeback to seal their place in the knockout stages.
Abraham applied the finishing touch to a crisp five-man move to light up a dank west London night, as Chelsea responded admirably to Frank Lampard’s pre-match challenge.
Frustrated boss Lampard had called on his faltering young stars to show tougher “personality” in the wake of Saturday’s 3-1 Premier League loss at Everton.
Chelsea entered Tuesday’s Lille clash with just one win in five matches, with Lampard facing the first tangible test of his Stamford Bridge managerial reign.
The Blues’ former England midfielder had pulled no punches in demanding more character from his developing squad.
And in free-scoring striker Abraham Lampard has just the type of personality player around whom he can build the Blues’ future.
Abraham himself appears quite happy to shoulder the burden of leading Chelsea’s charge under Lampard, openly embracing the number nine shirt at the age of 22.
Lampard will hope bigger and better European nights await his youthful charges, but considering Chelsea lost their opening Group H clash at home to Valencia he will be delighted just to make the knockout phase this term at all.
Chelsea eased into rhythm from the off, Christian Pulisic, Emerson and N’Golo Kante all going close before the hosts broke the deadlock.
The move of the match yielded the opener, as Chelsea turned a set move into an eye-catching team goal.
Lille defender Jeremy Pied insisted the visitors were not in London for a glorified training session, having been unable to qualify for the next phase of either the Champions or Europe League.
So instead it was Chelsea who turned Stamford Bridge into the training paddock, with Abraham tapping home to cap an inch-perfect move.
Mateo Kovacic dropped into the left back slot to angle a lofted ball to Kante, who had tiptoed up to the centre forward berth.
The Frenchman chested down straight into the path of the onrushing Pulisic, who drove infield from the left and fed Willian cutting in from the right.
The Brazil forward checked down the line, cut back a low ball to the near post – and Abraham did the rest with a smart finish.
The five-man move smacked of a plan often rehearsed in preparation but rarely executed so crisply in battle.
When captain Azpilicueta headed in Emerson’s corner just past the half hour, Chelsea were in total control and already eyeing the knockout stages.
The Blues bossed the second-half’s opening exchanges with no joy, and were left with a nervy end to the night when Remy lashed home late on.
The former Blues striker thumped home a fine finish to put Chelsea’s progression in jeopardy, and then even fluffed a great chance to dump the hosts out of the competition.
Chelsea held out though, for a morale-boosting and ultimately deserved win.
Cristiano Ronaldo Is Now The 5th Highest Goalscorer In Football History
Cristiano Ronaldo is now the fifth highest goal scorer in the history of football.
The Juventus star has overtaken Gerd Muller on the top goalscorers in football history list, with the Portuguese beating the Germany legend to fifth position after his goal scoring run for Juventus.
On Sunday night, the Portuguese superstar scored twice to secure a 2-1 win against Parma in Serie A. He’s now netted 18 times already this season – not bad for a 34-year-old.
The Portuguese grabbed a cool brace, scoring in each half of the game to open a four-point gap with close league challengers Inter.
Ronaldo also increased his tally to 16 goals in Serie A, becoming the only player in the top five European leagues to score at least 15 goals in each of the last 14 campaigns.
The feat means the former Man United talisman has now reached another significant landmark of his glistering trophy-laden career.
At 34, Ronaldo with a goal per game ratio of 0.72 has now scored staggering 736 goals in 1028 games at the top level.
Hungarian icon Ferenc Puskas has 747 goals behind Selecao legend Pele who has 767. It seems Ronaldo may overtake both legends should his goal-scoring form continue this season.
Romario is the second highest goalscorer in history with 772, while Czech-Austrian legend Josef Bican is the most prolific goal-scorer with 805 goals.
Here are top goalscorers in history according to Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF)
1. Josef Bica: 805 goals
2. Romario: 772 goals
3. Pele: 767 goals
4. Ferenc Puskas: 747 goals
5: Cristiano Ronaldo: 736 goals
6. Gerd Muller: 735 goals
7. Lionel Messi: 717 goals
[PHOTOS/VIDEO] Man Utd Goalkeeper Sergio Romero Involved In Car Crash
Manchester United goalkeeper and Argentina international, Sergio Romero was involved in car crash near the club’s Carrington training base on Monday.
The United’s No 2 goalkeeper, 32, smashed up his Lamborghini worth £170,000, near to the club’s training ground and escaped unharmed.
In photos and video posted online, the Lamborghini can be seen underneath a roadside barrier as the goalkeeper stood to one side of the wreckage. It appears Romero was travelling on the A6144M when the accident occurred.
— UNITED (@unitedaaaaw) January 20, 2020
Crystal Palace Hit Back To Deny Man City After Late Aguero Double
A late own goal by Fernandinho denied Manchester City a comeback win over Crystal Palace after a 2-2 draw at The Etihad.
Cenk Tosun marked his full debut with a goal as Palace took a shock lead with their first attempt on goal in the 39th minute.
City saw a penalty decision rightly overturned by VAR after an accidental handball by Jairo Riedewald, but the home side drew level with eight minutes to go when Gabriel Jesus’ cross was well tucked away by Sergio Aguero.
And the match was turned on its head five minutes later when Bernard Mendy’s superb centre was met by a fine header from Aguero.
The drama was not over there though and Palace grabbed a leveller in the 90th minute when Wilfried Zaha powered past John Stones and his cross was turned into his own net by Fernandinho.