Chelsea qualified for the Champions League round of 16 with a dramatic 2-1 victory at Rennes on Tuesday night.
The result puts Frank Lampard’s men top of Group E with 10 points from four matches, level with Sevilla who defeated Krasnodar in Russia, and nine ahead of Krasnodar and Rennes in the bottom positions.
Callum Hudson-Odoi scored in the 22nd minute to put the Blues on their way — the England international running onto a perfectly weighted Mason Mount long ball and coolly beating Alfred Gomis who’d come out of his net to reduce the angle.
The goal marked Hudson-Odoi’s second in nine Champions Leagues matches in his career, a strong return for the winger who has scored just two Premier League goals in 39 appearances.
Rennes clawed a goal back in the 85th minute through Sehrou Guirassy, who shook his marker and fired a header high and hard past Edouard Mendy from the centre of the box after a corner kick.
However, second-half substitute Olivier Giroud secured qualification in the first minute of stoppage time with an impressive header after Timo Werner saw his one-on-one knocked up into the air by a fine Gomis save.
Now qualified, Chelsea can offer valuable rest to key squad players over the final two rounds of matches against Sevilla and Krasnodar on Dec. 2 and 8, respectively. Rennes were eliminated with the loss.