Giroud’s late winner puts Chelsea into Champions League knockout stage after 2-1 win over Rennes
By Paul Lagan
Olivier Giroud scored a last minute winner to see Chelsea nab all three Champions League points with a 2-1 win to secure group qualification against Rennes tonight.
Callum Hudson-Odoi scored with a first half strike, having been put through with an inch-perfect ball by Mason Mount to set the ball rolling.
But the west Londoners made hard work of it, missing some golden chances, notably Timo Werner early on and a Ben Chilwell header deep in the second half.
They lost composure in the second half as the French side sensed a change in fortune.
With five minutes left on the clock, it looked as if the missed chances would prove costly as Rennes equalised.
But it was the substitutions that made all the difference.
Frank Lampard made his first changes on 68 minutes replacing Mount, and a Abraham for N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud.
Mendy produced a fine near post save to preserve the 1-0 lead on 75 minutes as Rennes looked increasingly dangerous.
Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz replaced Mateo Kovacic and Hudson-Odoi a minute later.
With the Blues pegged back it came as no surprise that the home side equalised with five minutes to go.
It came direct from a corner and Sherou Guirassy powerfully headed home from close range.
Chilwell could have restored the lead but after ghosting behind the Rennes defence. He latched onto a Ziyech free kick but his header was well saved by Gomis.
Then, as the first of the three added minutes ticked over Ziyech sent Werner through. the German’s shot was saved by Gomis but the ball looped into the air and up popped Giroud to smack a header home to give the Blues the win.
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell, Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount, Werner, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi
Subs: Kepa, Rudiger, Alonso, Christensen, Kante, Caballero, Tomori, Giroud, Ziyech, James, Havertz, Emerson
Rennes, Gomis, Traore, Da Silva, Nyamsi, Truffert, Camavinga, Nzonzi, Bourigeaud, Doku, Guirassy, Le Siliki,
Subs: Salin, Grenier, Niang, Maouassa, Gboho, Tait, Del Castillo, Hunou, Assignon
Soppy, Rutter, Omari
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers