Rennes: Striker Olivier Giroud scored a dramatic last-minute winner when Chelsea booked their place in the Champions League 2-2 in the round of 16 and 1 win over Stade Rennais at Roazhon Park on Tuesday.
Sehrou Guirassy looked like he had equalized a point for his side minutes earlier, but Giroud took advantage of some poor Rennes defending to take the win after Callum Hudson-Odoi scored in had taken the lead in the first half.
Chelsea top group E with 10 points from four games, tied with Sevilla, but with a goal difference ahead, after the Spanish team had also won a late 2-1 win against Krasnodar in Russia for a place in the knockout round to secure.
Rennes, who has a point, had its moments but was largely kept in check by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who left the Bretagne club for Stamford Bridge in September and made a number of stellar saves.
The guests should have moved forward within four minutes when Timo Werner inexplicably shot over the finish line from close range with a gaping goal.
Hudson-Odoi’s low cross just had to be steered into the net, but the German striker shot well over the bar from six meters away.
Giroud (right) scored the added-time winner five minutes after Rennes seemed to have scored a point at home. Credit: AP
They took the lead in the middle of the first half when Mason Mount made a clear sprint with his precise 50-yard pass behind the Rennes defense before Hudson-Odoi showed excellent control and a cool finish behind Alfred Gomis scored.
Gomis brilliantly saved from Mount, but it was Mendy who kept the two goalkeepers busy. In the 85. In the minute he was finally beaten when Guirassy remained unmarked on a corner and shot his header into the net.
It seemed to have sealed a point for the home team, but when Rennes surrendered the ball just outside the box, Hakim Ziyech fielded Werner, whose shot was saved by Gomis, only to have Giroud head the rebound.
In the meantime, a dispute over the seating arrangement in the team bus cost Club Bruges striker Emmanuel Dennis a place in the squad for Tuesday’s duel in Borussia Dortmund, reported the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
The 23-year-old Nigerian stormed off the bus after being told he was not allowed to sit in his preferred seat due to social distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic and that he had not started the trip to Germany.
Bruges manager Philippe Clement said in his pre-game press conference on Monday that Dennis was fit but not available for selection for disciplinary reasons.
« He didn’t follow the club’s rules, that’s all I want to say . . . I prefer to focus on the players who are available to me, « added Clement.
Dennis, who joined Bruges in 2017, scored two goals in a 2-2 Champions League draw at Real Madrid last season.
He also scored the Belgian club’s win against Zenit St. Petersburg in his first group game in the elite European club competition of the season.
With four points from three games, Bruges is third in Group F, behind leaders Dortmund and Italian Lazio.
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