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Ajax vs Chelsea. UEFA Champions League Group H.

Amsterdam ArenAAttendance52,482.

Ajax 0

    Chelsea 1

    • M Batshuayi (86th minute)

    Ajax 0-1 Chelsea: Michy Batshuayi winner gives Blues sixth straight win

    Chelsea win sixth game on the trot to come alive in Group H

    Michy Batshuayi celebrates scoring for Chelsea
    Image: Michy Batshuayi celebrates scoring Chelsea's winner against Aja

    Substitute 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.

    Michy Batshuayi celebrates scoring for Chelsea
    Image: Batshuayi was set up by fellow sub Christian Pulisic

    The result puts Chelsea top of Group H, level on points with Ajax and two ahead of Valencia after their 1-1 draw with Lille.

    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.

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    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.

    Ajax's Hakim Ziyech and Chelsea duo Mateo Kovacic and Fikayo Tomori battle for possession
    Image: Ajax's Hakim Ziyech and Chelsea duo Mateo Kovacic and Fikayo Tomori battle for possession

    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.

    What the manager said

    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard: "I'm delighted, with every element of the performance. The work ethic, work off the ball for every man and the subs, was outstanding throughout. It feels huge, which always scares me as there's a lot to do, it's six points halfway through a group and we have Burnley on Saturday.

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    Frank Lampard is pleased with the commitment shown by those players who are not regularly starting for his side

    "We're entitled to be excited about how we played, and it's a bit of a blueprint for us. The work of the wingers, midfielders, full-backs, outstanding. I could go through them all. No excuses from them now to dip from that.

    "The younger players are still babies in Champions League minutes, so this was a huge test for them."

    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)
    Ven de Beek (22) Abraham (22)
    Neres (22) - sub James (19) - sub
    Pulisic (21) - sub

    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 game easier and shone again in a more advanced role, while 18-year-old right-back Sergino Dest looked solid.

    Remember the names...

    Opta stats

    • Chelsea have kept consecutive clean sheets in all competitions under Frank Lampard for the first time.
    • Despite only appearing as a 71st minute substitute, Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi had more shots than any other player in the match (4), including scoring the winning goal.

    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.

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