Chelsea moved a step closer to qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages after overcoming Malmo 1-0 courtesy to a Hakim Ziyech goal.
There are certain Champions League games that stick with you for a long time. Classic interactions that individuals who were lucky enough to see reminisce about with delight. The encounter between Malmo and Chelsea was not one of them.
The Blues delivered a serviceable effort.
The team of Thomas Tuchel controlled the ball and generated several opportunities, but they were often let down by bad finishing.
Malmo is also deserving of praise. They collapsed at the slightest strain at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago. That was not the case yesterday night, maybe because it was the first time they had played in front of a full stadium in two years.
Because the home side had created so much irritation in the first 45 minutes, a tactical adjustment was made at halftime: Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech changed wings.
It turned out to be a brilliant tactical move. Hudson-Odoi dashed down the Chelsea flank in the 56th minute after exchanging passes with Kai Havertz. The academy graduate then raised his head and sent an inch-perfect low cross into Ziyech’s path.
Tuchel seems to have discovered a way to open the door by leaving the Moroccan with the most basic of close-range finishes. Until he gave his post-match news conference, that is.
Tuchel added, “All the credit goes to my assistant [Arno Michels], who came up with the concept.” “Two right-footed players on the right side and two left-footed guys on the left side worked well for us.
“We had the impression that if we could get behind Malmo’s low block, we’d lose valuable seconds if they had to transfer the ball back to their strong foot, where their No.8s were closing holes.