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Pulisic and Azpilicueta help Chelsea fend off Lille despite turbulent future

Lille, sixth in Ligue 1, would regret those misses. With 19 minutes left the tie was out of reach, Mount darting down the left and swung a dangerous cross to the far post. Timothy Weah was not quick enough off the mark and Azpilicueta charged, kneeing the ball past Jardim to give Chelsea a fleeting sense of control over their own destiny.

Yet it was Lille who carried the greater threat at the start of the second half. They almost led again when Jonathan Bamba, twisting past Alonso on the right, crossed for Yilmaz to head inches wide with Mendy beaten. There were still too many gaps in Chelsea’s defence, even with Thiago Silva at the heart of it, and they had another escape just after the hour, Xeka’s free header bouncing off the woodwork and to safety.

With the home fans bouncing, it seemed that Chelsea were on the ropes. That, though, was the cue for them to show their class. Just before half-time they equalised in splendid fashion, Jorginho relishing the chance to make up for his part in Lille’s goal. The pass from the Italian was beautiful, bent with the outside of his right foot, Lille’s defence cut to shreds, and there was Pulisic running in unnoticed from the right before clipping a low shot across Léo Jardim and into the far corner.metasports

The free-kick came in, the ball was not cleared and Lille screamed for a penalty when Jorginho handled as he tried to challenge Xeka. It was a blatant handball and although Davide Massa missed it in real time, there was no doubt that the Italian referee would point to the spot after being told to check the pitchside monitor, allowing Yilmaz to give Lille hope by burying a ruthless spot-kick beyond Édouard Mendy.