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Chelsea become the first team to qualify for Champions League knockout stage

Chelsea are through to the knockout phase of the Champions League following a 2-1 win over Rennes.

Olivier Giroud, a second half substitute, turned out to be the hero as his header secured all three points in injury time after it looked like the hosts had done enough to earn a point.

Callum Hudson-Odoi broke the deadlock in the first-half with a fine finish after being picked out by Mason Mount, sliding expertly home to give the visitors an early advantage.

However, Serhou Guirassy equalised with a towering header in the 85th minute which would have been enough to delay Chelsea‘s progress, albeit by a week.

But, Giroud restored the Blues’ lead with a fine header after Timo Werner’s shot had been saved to put his side on the brink.

And with Sevilla beating Krasnodar by the same scoreline in the other game in the group, it’s a case of job done for Frank Lampard’s side and with two games to spare which could home in handy because of the hectic fixture schedule.

Giroud’s first goal of the season comes at a time where he’s been linked with a move away from Chelsea in the January transfer window.

Last week, Lampard was accused of treating the Frenchman unfairly after starting Tammy Abraham ahead of him

“But at the same time, there have been €150m worth of players bought. It is not the same to play with Ziyech, Havertz, Werner than playing without them,” Michael Manuello said. “So we need to relativise this.

“But at the same time you’d be blind not to see that Frank Lampard has decided to put Tammy Abraham ahead of him.


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