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Champions League

Late Batshuayi strike gives Chelsea hard-fought Ajax win

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Michy Batshuayi of Chelsea FC during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Ajax Amsterdam and Chelsea FC at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 23, 2019 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands(Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)

Image credit: Getty Images

ByPaul Hassall
23/10/2019 at 17:47 | Updated 23/10/2019 at 21:51

Champions League, Johan Cruijff Arena: Ajax 0 Chelsea 1 (Batshuayi 86)

Chelsea ended Ajax's 100 per cent record in Champions League Group H with a hard-fought 1-0 win in Amsterdam.

The Blues gave a strong account of themselves against last season's semi finalists and snatched the points when substitute Michy Batshuayi made up for a glaring miss with a sharp strike four minutes from time.

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Eric ten Hag's Ajax side had thought they had opened the scoring on 35 minutes, but Quincy Promes's close-range strike was ruled out by VAR for offside.

The hosts then hit the post through Edson Alvarez in the second half before Frank Lampard's men began to grow as the more threatening force.

The result sees Chelsea join Ajax at the top of the pool on six points ahead of Valencia's clash with Lille.

The Blues will now look to further bolster their hopes of reaching the knockout stage when they host the Dutch giants on Matchday 4 on November 5.

TALKING POINT

Chelsea shade battle of the young guns to give Lampard a significant win. Much was made of how these two sides have burgeoning young talent ahead of the contest, and Chelsea did enough to live up to the recent hype against a club rich in the tradition of developing starlets for their first team. Callum Hudson-Odoi was lively on his first start in the competition, particularly in the first half. He combined well with Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham without making the most of some good situations. Fikayo Tomori was once again impressive in defence, while substitutes Christian Pulisic and Batshuayi made a massive contribution in securing a win that must surely go down as Lampard's biggest in charge so far. It is a potentially coming-of-age success at the expense of an opponent who had not lost since May 8.

Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea)

Image credit: Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH

Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea). The Blues' attacking starlets have earned more of the headlines, but there's no denying Tomori has been a growing influence since the start of the season. The young defender was superb throughout, dealing with Ajax's attack with real authority and composure.

Lampard assesses Chelsea's Ajax victory

00:00:34

PLAYER RATINGS

AJAX: Onana 7, Dest 6, Veltman 7, Blind 7, Tagliafico 7, Alvarez 7, Van de Beek 7, Martinez 7, Ziyech 6, Tadic 6, Promes 6. Subs: Neres 6, Huntelaar n/a, De Jong n/a.

CHELSEA: Kepa 7, Azpilicueta 8, Zouma 7, Tomori 8, Alonso 7, Kovacic 7, Jorginho 7, Mount 7, Hudson-Odoi 7, Abraham 6, Willian 6. Subs: Pulisic 7, Batshuayi 7, James n/a.

Matchcast: Full match stats and commentary

KEY MOMENTS

14' - CHELSEA CHANCE. Mount surges in from the left and rifles a low shot towards the near-post bottom corner, but Onana is down well to push it away.

35' - AJAX GOAL CHALKED OFF. Promes arrives on cue at the far post to prod home Ziyech's cross from close range. VAR checks - and it's ruled out for offside!

59' - AJAX CHANCE. Edson Álvarez meets a right-wing corner but sees his diving header flash back off the far post. Ajax keep the pressure on and Blind tests Kepa with a fizzing 20-yard drive.

73' - CHELSEA CHANCE. Batshuayi chests down Pulisic's deflected shot but hammers it over the top from eight yards out. That was a gilt-edged opportunity.

86' - GOAL! Ajax 0-1 Chelsea. Batshuayi rattles a thumping shot in off the bar from close range after a super run and cross from Pulisic on the left.

KEY STATS

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Michy Batshuayi has scored nine goals as a substitute for Chelsea - four more than any other Blues player.

Aged 18 years and 350 days, Callum Hudson-Odoi is the youngest player to start a Champions League match for Chelsea since Josh McEachran in December 2010 against Marseille (17y 282d).

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FootballChampions LeagueChelseaAjax
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