Kai Havertz
and Christian Pulisic scored as Chelsea took control of their Champions League last
16 tie against Lille with a 2-0 first leg win at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Struggling for
form, club record signing Romelu Lukaku was dropped to the bench with Havertz becoming
the focal point of Chelsea’s attack and nearly scoring twice before breaking
the deadlock on the eighth minute, converting a Hakim Ziyech corner.

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The Belgian
striker managed only seven touches in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on
Saturday – the lowest such tally for a player completing 90 minutes since the 2003-04
season, when statistics started being recorded.

But stepping
up in Lukaku’s absence was Havertz, who should have buried a cross from Cesar
Azpilicueta in the opening exchanges but only managed to fire over the post. He
then forced Lille goalkeeper Leo Jardim into a fine stop nodding in Ziyech’s corner.

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“We have a
lot of good strikers, so it is also good to have a change and not make it easy
for the opposition,” Havertz said. “Today it worked good and I enjoy
every forward position.”

winger Pulisic doubled the advantage in the 63rd minute, scoring
after a brilliant run and pass from French midfielder N’Golo Kante. “When
N’Golo is driving like that, it’s just a question of keeping up with him,”
Pulisic said, “and I managed to do that and finish it off.”

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contribution particularly pleased Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

struggled with belief and intensity in recent matches so it was good he stepped
up today,” Tuchel said. “You can see how big an impact he has when he’s in
good shape.”

The only
negatives for Chelsea and Tuchel were the injuries to Mateo Kovacic and Ziyech
as the Blues prepare to take on Liverpool in the EFL Cup final at Wembley on

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“I should
have subbed Mateo at half-time,” Tuchel said. “I have not spoken to the doctor
about Hakim and hope it is not serious. Today is Tuesday, there are a lot of
days to recover until Sunday. I hope they will be ready for Sunday.