Olivier Giroud scored a late winner as Chelsea beat Rennes 2-1 to confirm their place in the Champions League knockout stage.
Frank Lampard’s side led for much of the evening, with Callum Hudson-Odoi scoring from an inch-perfect Mason Mount through ball.
Chelsea missed a host of chances to double their lead and looked as if they would be made to pay when Sehrou Guirassy thumped in a headed equaliser with five minutes to go.
But in the final minute of normal time, Giroud scored a clever header to earn Chelsea three points, a result which guarantees their progression to the next round.
Hudson-Odoi makes his mark
“You have the squad for a reason. Callum is a young, developing player. He’s made some good performances, I liked when he came on at Newcastle.
“I have confidence in him. When you change the team you want to sustain the levels and maybe improve them.”
Frank Lampard spoke in glowing terms about the England international and he lived up to the billing.
With competition for places at a staggering level at Stamford Bridge, Hudson-Odoi will have to make the most of his chances and he did so in France.
Latching on to Mount’s stunning through ball, the 20-year-old finished clinically.
He’s keeping himself in Lampard’s thoughts and that’s all he can do.
It now seems a long time ago that England and Chelsea fans were flooding with social media with comments everytime the midfielder was named in a starting 11.
Perhaps it’s the torrent of teammate praise that has finally opened even the most negative eyes to his ability.
But it seems that with every passing week Mount adds another trademark moment to his resume.
The ball for Hudson-Odoi’s opener is one that we will see over and over again.
He will be a regular for Chelsea and England for a long time, no discussion.
What a steal….
The signing of Edouard Mendy is being shown to be Chelsea’s most important piece of transfer business in the recent summer spree.
With Kepa Arrizabalaga in between the sticks, there was always a fear that they could concede a goal whenever and from wherever.
But since Mendy was given the number one shirt at Stamford Bridge, he has become a really imposing figure and gives off an air of authority.
Against Rennes he made one mightily impressive save and although he conceded a late header, he had little chance.
Glenn Hoddle claimed Chelsea got the deal done “on the cheap”, it’s hard to disagree.
Giroud does it again
Top scorer in the Europa League last season and despite all of the new arrivals, when Chelsea needed a goal he was the man for the big occasion.
On international duty, he does what he always does for France and moved closer to Thierry Henry’s goalscoring record.
Much has been said about Giroud’s future at Stamford Bridge, with many suggesting he will be on the move in the January.
But this was the kind of intervention that proves while Lampard is so keen to keep him within his squad.
Missed chances almost cost Chelsea
For the second time in four days Frank Lampard’s side missed a host of chances during a period of early dominance.
Against Newcastle, they survived a period of pressure to eventually win 2-0, but against Rennes, they were not so lucky.
Timo Werner missed a sitter in the opening minutes, while Mount was very unlucky to not score from a shot within the six-yard box.
Chelsea fell away badly in the second half and Sehrou Guirassy’s thumping equaliser was well deserved.
Fortunately for Lampard, Chelsea netted a late winner which will allow him to rest some weary legs in the coming weeks, but they should have been out of sight already.