Hakim Ziyech scores winner as Chelsea beat Malmo in Champions League

European champions secure 1-0 victory in Sweden to put them on brink of last 16

Chelsea moved closer to reaching the Champions League last 16, but had to settle for a 1-0 win against a determined Malmo in Sweden on Tuesday.

Hakim Ziyech broke the home side's resistance 11 minutes into the second-half as the Moroccan tapped home from Callum Hudson-Odoi's inch-perfect cross.

Thomas Tuchel's men moved on to nine points from four Group H games, three points behind leaders Juventus who won 4-2 against Zenit St Petersburg in Turin.

"We got the job done," said Tuchel. "We wanted a result, we needed the result, we expected the result, and we delivered.

"Control was on our side. We did not suffer difficult situations in our box, we didn't allow awkward situations and we never lost concentration."

Tuchel resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes despite cruising past the Swedish champions 4-0 at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago — a match that saw Chelsea attackers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner both pick up injuries.

The pair were missing at the Eleda Stadion and Kai Havertz, who scored the winning goal in last season's final against Manchester City, missed the best chance of a cagey first-half dominated by the visitors.

Havertz fired too close to Johan Dahli when one-on-one, while the Malmo goalkeeper also made comfortable saves from Ziyech, Marcos Alonso and Andreas Christensen.

But Chelsea, just as they had done in their 3-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday, had to be patient before eventually making the breakthrough, which came in the 56th minute.

One moment of quality made the difference for the European champions as Hudson-Odoi and Havertz exchanged a one-two that freed the England winger down the right and his cross picked out Ziyech to tap home.

More chances came and went for Chelsea in the final quarter with Havertz missing another one-on-one and substitute Christian Pulisic had his blushes spared by the offside flag in injury time after rounding the keeper but shooting wide.

But the London club never looked in danger of conceding an equaliser as they registered an eighth clean sheet in 10 Champions League games under Tuchel.

“They made it hard for us, they played close together and closed off all the spaces. When they play well it's hard to beat them,” goalscorer Ziyech said.

Updated: November 2nd 2021, 9:54 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS