Chelsea through to the knockout stages with win over BATE
Chelsea labored to a 1-0 win over Belarusian champions BATE Borisov to secure a ticket to the knock out phases of the competition with Olivier Giroud bagging his first goal of the season in a UEFA Europa League match played on Thursday 8th November.
Coming into the tie after being crowned champions of Belarus over the weekend with three games to spare BATE started the game strongly and almost took the lead in the 12th minute when Dmitri Baga’s shot from outside the 18-yard area beat Kepa in goal but was denied by the upright.
Chelsea grew into the game after the scare and dominated large spells of position but the BATE's defense stood tall stifling every attack thrown at them. Maurizio Sarri’s men went into the halftime break without mastering a shot on target.
Sarri had some stern words for his charges at halftime which was evident in how they resumed the second half with Giroud opening his season’s goal account in the 53rd minute when Emerson Palmieri whipped in a brilliant cross that met the head of Giroud on its way in.
Nikolay Signevich deflected a shot that cannoned off the crossbar to fall kindly for Kepa for easy pickings in the 57th minute with Chelsea looking rattled. Giroud was next to be denied by the crossbar as his header from a corner rattled off the post in the 65th minute.
Chelsea withered a late storm by BATE to secure three points and ensure their qualification to the Europa League Round of 32.