Rennes 1-2 Chelsea: Super sub Giroud sends Chelsea through to the Champions League last 16
RENNES, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 24: Olivier Giroud of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their sides second goal with team mates including Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva during the UEFA Champions League Group E stage match between Stade Rennais and Chelsea FC at Roazhon Park on November 24, 2020 in Rennes, France. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea secured their place in the last 16 of Champions League with a 2-1 victory over Rennes.

A first-half strike from Callum Hudson-Odoi was cancelled out by Serhou Guirassy's late header, before Olivier Giroud clinched victory late on with a goal in stoppage time for the Blues.

With this result, Chelsea remain top of the group, and will be joined by Sevilla in the knockout stage as they beat Krasnodar 2-1 in the other fixture in the group. The two teams will go head to head next week, which looks like it will decide who tops the group.

The victory was also Chelsea's sixth in a row and will fill them with confidence heading into a crunch Premier League match with rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Story of the match

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard made four changes from the side that beat Newcastle United 2-0 on Saturday, as Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Jorginho and Callum Hudson-Odoi came into the team in place of Reece James, Antonio Rudiger, N'Golo Kante and Hakim Ziyech.

Meanwhile, Rennes made five changes from their side that lost 1-0 against Bordeaux on Friday, with Hamari Traore, Gerzino Nyamsi, Steven Nzonzi, Jeremy Doku and James Lea Siliki replacing Brandon Soppy, Nayef Aguerd, Flavien Tait, Romain Del Castillo and Martin Terrier. Rennes were fortunate to have young prospect Eduardo Camavinga back available for the game after missing their 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge, but were without Dalbert, who was suspended after his red card in that match.

Chelsea started the game the brighter of the two, with Callum Hudson-Odoi setting up Timo Werner with a golden chance which the German spurned over the crossbar. But eventually, the pressure paid off for Chelsea in the 22nd minute as Mason Mount's lofted ball played in Hudson-Odoi, who slotted past Alfred Gomis for his second Champions League goal of the season.

They then had the chance to double their lead moments later as Ben Chilwell set up Mount, whose effort was remarkably saved by the sharp reactions of Gomis. However, Rennes ended the half the better side, with Edouard Mendy making his first save of the match to deny Serhou Guirassy's snapshot from just outside the box. Mendy was in action again shortly after, parrying away Damien Da Silva's header.

In the second half, Chelsea looked sharp from the off, with Timo Werner heading the ball into the back of the net soon after the restart, but was judged to have been offside when Cesar Azpilicueta crossed it into him.

From that point, Rennes looked the better side with Guirassy a constant threat, forcing a save from Mendy into the side netting from a wide-angle shot with 20 minutes left of play. The resulting corner met the head of Gerzino Nymasi, denied in spectacular fashion again by Mendy, who had a strong game against his old club.

Rennes eventually found their equaliser with six minutes to go, with Guirassy rising highest to nod past Mendy, who was left with no chance.

This forced Chelsea to attack a bit more, with substitute Hakim Ziyech the catalyst for creating chances. His late free-kick found Ben Chilwell at the back post, but the England left-back could only direct his header straight at Gomis.

But Ziyech was key once Chelsea finally managed to find the necessary cutting edge to break down Rennes, as he fed Timo Werner in stoppage time, only for Gomis to once deny Chelsea. However, his save could only go as far as Olivier Giroud, who rose highest to head it into the net, despite the best efforts of Da Silva on the line to keep it out. This was Giroud's second goal of the season, and further proved his importance to Chelsea when his future has recently been a much-discussed topic.

Far from Chelsea's best performance, Lampard will be relieved to qualify from the group before the last two games, with potential for more squad rotation on the cards. All eyes will be on the Premier League clash with Tottenham on Sunday to see if Chelsea can continue their fine run of results.

Main takeaways

Chelsea need to stop relying on one goal leads
Tuesday's game proved something that a lot of Chelsea fans have feared in recent weeks - they are still susceptible to conceding silly goals. There has been a running theme in the last few games where Chelsea have seemingly been sitting back or have been satisfied with one-goal leads, and while they have managed to find that all-important two-goal cushion quite comfortably in other games, this game proved that it isn't sustainable.

The lack of chances being created in the second half should be worrying to the coaching staff, and if the team has ambitions of competing for the Premier League title or the Champions League their attitude to how to see out games has to improve.

Rennes make good account of themselves
Unlike many other Champions League debutants that you see, Rennes should be applauded for their competitive attitude in their performances, as they always looked to attack Chelsea and gain something from the game.

There is a strong argument to be had for them being the better team, and they seemed to have picked apart some of Chelsea's defensive frailties, something that could have resulted in a positive result if it wasn't for Edouard Mendy's heroics in the Chelsea goal. They should feel hard done by to come away without at least a point, but they still have a chance of gaining third place to qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League.

Giroud proves his worth
Pretty much a constant fixture on the bench this season, Olivier Giroud once again proved his worth to Chelsea with another important contribution. Giroud's brilliant form at the tail end of last season proved Lampard wrong for not trusting the Frenchman for the first half of the campaign, and he has once again made his point for more game time with his crucial late winner. The aerial ability and hold up play is second to no one else at the club, and it would be a massive loss if he was to leave in January, as he has been an incredible signing since his move from Arsenal nearly three years ago.

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