LILLE, France (AP) — Willian marked his 300th Chelsea appearance by volleying in the deciding goal to secure a 2-1 victory at Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday, handing manager Frank Lampard his first win in Europe.
Tammy Abraham also marked his 22nd birthday with a goal to put the visitors ahead in the 22nd minute, before Lille equalized in the 33rd through their own exciting young striker, Victor Osimhen.
Chelsea controlled possession for a majority of the game and the winner came in the 78th minute when substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi went past a defender on the left flank and lifted a cross toward the far post. Willian met it with a volley that he struck into the ground so it bounced over goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
“We deserved to win tonight,” Willian said. “The lads did an amazing job tonight and now we have to carry on.”
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga nearly gifted Lille another equalizer in injury time as he mis-hit a clearance straight at Boubakary Soumare, but the Spaniard recovered quickly by diving at the midfielder’s feet to collect the ball.
It was a crucial win for Chelsea after it lost its opening Group H game at home against Valencia, and with two games against last season’s semifinalist Ajax coming up next.
“We came into the game and we knew that we needed to win,” said Abraham, who scored his first goal in the competition and took his overall tally to eight this season. “I knew I would get my chance today and I think I took it well.”
Ajax beat Valencia 3-0 away in the other Group H game to top the group on six points.
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