Mitchy Batshuayi came off the bench to score a late winner as Chelsea overcame last season’s semifinalists Ajax Amsterdam 1-0 in a UEFA Champions League group match played at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday night.
The win helped the Blues take charge of Group H with six points after Lille and Valencia played to a one-all draw in the other encounter played in France. Denis Cheryshev gave Valencia the lead before Nanitamo Jonathan’s goal deep into stoppage time secured a point for the home side.
Ajax had won their opening two group matches against Valencia and Lille and went into the game as favorites. Chelsea, on the other hand, had a single win and a defeat in its previous two matches and were labeled underdogs heading into the Johan Cruijff Arena showdown.
The Blues survived first half raids from the 1995 champions as Quincy Promes saw his goal overturned by the VAR while Edson Alvarez saw his effort come off the upright.
The second half was more electric with Chelsea showing massive improvement and they were rewarded with an 86th-minute goal from Mitchy Batshuayi who fired home from a Christian Pulisic pass. The Belgian striker replaced Tammy Abraham in the 71st minute and 15 minutes later he bagged teh winning goal for Frank Lampard’s side to help them leapfrog Ajax to top position.
It was Chelsea’s second away UCL victory as last time they had registered a win at Lille.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was elated with the triumph.
“I am delighted. Delighted with every element of the performance. There were moments, but you come to Ajax against the quality of their team they were going to have moments. But the work ethic of the group, the work we put in off the ball for every man and the subs was outstanding. It has to be to come here and get a result,” he said
Lampard went to hail the impact of Batshuayi and fellow substitute Christian Pulisic who changed the tide of the game after coming on.
“And then the subs, it is what you want from subs. Sometimes the toughest part of management is leaving out players who really want to play week in and week out, then you are relying on them being positive and coming on and making an impact,” he added.