Chelsea are into the last 32 of this season’s UEFA Europa League after battling beyond BATE Borisov in Belarus.
Frenchman Olivier Giroud scored the winning just after half-time as Chelsea recorded a scrappy 1-0 win to continue their perfect record in Group L.
Blues boss Maurizio Sarri made a number of changes to his starting line-up and the South West Londoners started sluggishly. Chelsea were lucky not to have been behind after just 12 minutes when Dmitri Baga’s effort from range struck the post before Stanislavsky Dragon forced visiting keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga into action.
Chelsea were poor throughout the first period and home keeper Denis Scherbitski was largely untroubled as Sarri’s men created little quality in attack.
The Blues took the lead early in the second half from their first real attempt on target. Emerson Palmieri put a cross into the box and Giroud got his head onto the ball to direct it into the net.
Opponents BATE remained a force in the match and Nikolai Signevich saw an effort strike the crossbar before Eden Hazard and Ross Barkley went close for Chelsea.
BATE struck the woodwork for a third time late in the match through a Zakhar Volkov shot from outside the box, Chelsea’s luck was certainly in as they escaped with three points.
Chelsea are back in action on Sunday when they welcome Everton to Stamford Bridge in the English Premier League.