Chelsea Under-19s are into the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Youth League after beating French club Montpellier 2-1 at Cobham this afternoon.
The Blues left it late to book their place in the next round with Luke McCormick’s 82nd-minute strike separating the two sides.
A tense first 45 minutes produced no goals, although both sides had good chances to break the deadlock. Charlie Brown couldn’t quite get a header on target to open the scoring for Chelsea before home keeper Karlo Ziger pulled off a fine save as he tipped Bastian Badu’s effort over the bar at the other end.
McCormick was clear through on goal just before the break but stumbled and lost the chance to take a shot as the two sides went into half-time deadlocked.
It was Montpellier who twice went close early in the second half. Badu was again the danger-man as he headed an effort just over the bar before forcing Ziger into making a save a few moments later.
Brown created a chance for The Blues but his ambitious effort was gathered by visiting keeper Amine Ichalalen.
Joe Edwards’ men finally broke the deadlock 18 minutes from time when McCormick’s dangerous ball across the box was pushed away by Ichalalen but Juan Castillo was on-hand to slam the loose ball into the back of the net.
Montpellier soon levelled when Amir Adouyev’s free-kick was met by Samy Benchama at the back post who got enough contact on the ball to force it over the line.
The French club’s Joy was short-lived though with McCormick striking a stunning volley into the net to win the match for The Blues late on.
Chelsea will now host Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb at Cobham in their quarter-final tie next month.