Super Sub Batshuayi Gives Chelsea Huge Win  (Sky Sports)

Ajax 0 Chelsea 1

Michy BatshuayiSubstitute Michy Batshuayi hit an 86th-minute winner as Chelsea beat Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam to come alive in Group H in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Batshuayi struck from 10 yards after a centre from fellow sub Christian Pulisic to give Chelsea a vital win, and their sixth on the trot in all competitions under Frank Lampard.

In a goalless first half, Ajax had a goal disallowed by VAR for a tight offside on Quincy Promes (35), before hitting the post through a Edson Alvarez header after the break.

Player ratings

Ajax: Onana (6), Dest (6), Veltman (6), Blind (6), Tagliafico (6), Alvarez (6), Van de Beek (7), Martinez (6), Ziyech (6), Tadic (5), Promes (6).

Subs: Neres (5), De Jong (NA), Huntelaar (NA)

Chelsea: Kepa (7), Azpilicueta (8), Zouma (7), Tomori (7), Alonso (7), Kovacic (7), Jorginho (8), Mount (7), Hudson-Odoi (7), Abraham (6), Willian (6).

Subs: Pulisic (8), Bathshuayi (8), James (NA)

Man of the match: Jorginho

Chelsea's best chance had fallen to substitute Batshuayi, who lashed over in space just moments after being introduced, but he more than made amends with four minutes remaining.

The result puts Chelsea top of Group H, level on points with Ajax and three ahead of Valencia, but that could change with the Spaniards taking on Lille in the 8pm kick-off on Wednesday.

How Lampard earned his finest victory

After a false start to their campaign, Chelsea were looking to take control of Group H against last season's semi-finalists.

In a frenetic first half, Ajax did have the ball in the net through Promes' back-post tap in, but he was found to be inches offside by VAR from Hakim Ziyech's deflected cross from the right flank.

Team news

Mateo Kovacic was the one Chelsea change from the weekend win over Newcastle, replacing Ross Barkley who was ruled out with injury.

Billy Gilmour made the bench in his absence, while N'Golo Kante was also still missing. Emerson was also fit enough to make the squad for the first time in a month.

Chelsea held their own in the first half with Kepa not making a single save, and Callum Hudson-Odoi was a constant livewire while running at the Ajax defence, but Lampard's side lacked the a clinical edge in the final third.

Ajax hit the outside of the post through Alvarez's header as Mateo Kovacic allowed him across his body, but a double sub changed things for Chelsea, just as it did on Saturday in the 1-0 win over Newcastle.

Sub Pulisic, who had impressed on Saturday, saw a shot deflected and loop into the path of fellow sub Batshuayi, but the Belgian lashed over on the half-volley in a fine position.

That looked to be a costly miss, and though a draw would not have been sniffed at, Lampard's side finally found their way in the Ajax box.

Getting to the left byline, Pulisic's centre was dummied by Alonso, and Batshuayi slammed the ball high, off the underside of the bar and over the line.

This was a clever, coming-of-age performance from Lampard's side, who are now flying, and will fancy themselves to qualify for the knockout stages with Ajax next up at Stamford Bridge in Group H.

Analysis: The future's bright, the future's Oranje and Blue

Sky Sports' Peter Smith…

There may be different forces driving Chelsea and Ajax's reliance on youth this season but the visitors' transfer ban and their hosts' financial constraints and philosophy allowed us to see some of football's most exciting young players go head to head on Wednesday night.

Ajax vs Chelsea  - players 22 and younger 
Ajax  Chelsea
Dest (18)  Hudson-Odoi (18) 
Martinez (21)  Mount (20) 
Alvarez (21)  Tomori (21) 
Van de Beek (22)  Abraham (22) 
Neres 22  sub James (19) 
  sub Pulisic 921) 

For Frank Lampard's youngsters, it was an important learning experience, coming up against a group of players who reached the Champions League semi-finals last season. They handled the occasion admirably, beginning with frantic intensity, weathering an Ajax push and denying their opponents a shot on target in the first half before largely taking control of the contest after the break.

They got their reward with five minutes to go when 21-year-old sub Christian Pulisic beat his man on the left flank and found Michy Batshuayi.

Hudson-Odoi's first CL start

Callum Hudson-Odoi (18y 350d) became the youngest player to start a Champions League game for Chelsea since Josh McEachran (17y 282d) in December 2010.

Some poor finishing had prevented Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18, from capitalising on a couple of good chances earlier in the game but he looked as dangerous as ever, while Mason Mount, 20, was at home at No 10, Tammy Abraham, 22, continued to warrant his status as first-choice striker and Fikayo Tomori, 21, dealt admirably with Ajax's talented attack.

For Ajax, Mexican Edson Alvarez caught the eye, heading against the woodwork when the game was level and retaining possession with a remarkable 96 per cent passing accuracy.

He and Argentine Lisandro Martinez - both 21 - have been charged with trying to fill the hole left by Frenkie de Jong. While that is no easy task, the talented Donny van de Beek, 22, makes their task easier and shone again in a more advanced role, while 18-year-old right-back Sergino Dest looked solid.

What's next?

Chelsea now go to Burnley on Saturday Night Football at 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event, before a Carabao Cup clash with Man Utd on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Main Event at 8.05pm. These two sides face each other again at Stamford Bridge in the next Champions League group game on November 5 at 8pm.

UEFA Match Press Kit 


Ajax Onan, Dest, Veltman (Huntelaar 89), Blind, Tagliafico, Alvarez de Jong 89), Martinez, Ziyech, Van de Beek, Promes (Neres 74), Tadic (c)
Subs Not Used Varela, Schuurs, Mazraoui, Marin
Booked Tadic, Martinez

Chelsea Kepa, Azpilicueta (c), Tomori, Zouma, Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Willian (Pulisic 66), Mount, Abraham (Batshuayi 71), Hudson-Odoi (James 90)
Subs Not Used
Caballero, Emerson, Gilmour, Giroud
Booked Zouma
Goals Batshuayi 86

Attendance 52,482

Referee Ovidiu Hategan (Romania)

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