Substitute Michy Batshuayi delivered a valuable late winner for Chelsea when they stung last term’s Champions League semi-finalists Ajax.
The Eredivisie leaders had triumphed from both Group H-clashes prior to the visit of Frank Lampard’s men. They appeared set for a third when winger Quincy Promes tapped in at the back post in the first half, only for the video assistant referee to call offside by a narrow margin.
Mexico international Edson Alvarez also headed against the post after the interval for the hosts at Johan Cruyff Arena.
A tense match, however, would be decided in the 86th minute when Christian Pulisic teed up fellow replacement Batshuayi to lash a cross into the roof of Andre Onana’s net. This second-successive victory put the disciplined Blues top of the standings, level on six points with Ajax at the halfway stage.
Here are the player ratings:
Andre Onana 6: Cameroon international was a virtual bystander at Johan Cruyff Arena after lithe 15th-minute stop from Mount.
Sergino Dest 7: Did an excellent job to quell the early promise shown by Hudson-Odoi.
Joel Veltman 7: Strode out well at start to fire in shot. Solid at the back, otherwise.
Daley Blind 7: His reading of the game is exemplary and helped quieten raw Abraham.
Nicolas Tagliafico 7: Argentina left-back was back in the Ajax XI. All-action, as always.
Edson Alvarez 7: Mexico international rocked post with Ajax’s only true glaring chance. Tidy in possession.
Lisandro Martinez 7: A bit sloppy on the ball, but led way in clearances against Premier League visitors.
Hakim Ziyech 7: Thought he’d provided opener, before VAR intervened. Not quite at searing best.
Donny van de Beek 6: Not bad, not good. Ajax needed him to be more decisive.
Quincy Promes 7: Almost a telling display. Narrowly offside for disallowed goal and set-up Alvarez header.
Dusan Tadic 6: Wild collision with Willian led to booking. An omnipresent threat, didn’t always choose right option.
David Neres 6: Replaced unfortunate Promes.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar N/A: No chances came veteran’s way.
Siem de Jong N/A: Similar tale.
9 - Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Michy Batshuayi has scored nine goals as a substitute for Chelsea - four more than any other Blues player. Impact. pic.twitter.com/OpqEEEd9G0— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 23, 2019
Kepa Arrizabalaga 6: Spain international could have stepped away and enjoyed Amsterdam’s tourist delights, so little was he required.
Cesar Azpilicueta 7: The slenderest of margins saved the Spain veteran from being embarrassed by Promes. Recovered very well.
Kurt Zouma 7: France centre-back’s resurgence after tough start to season continued. Always in right place.
Fikayo Tomori 7: Rare composure and resilience from a 21-year-old. Silenced usually vibrant Ajax attack.
Marcos Alonso 7: Lost ball to Tadic, saved by Tomori. Nice inter-play going forward, as ever. Excellent leave for Batshuayi.
Mateo Kovacic 6: Barkley injury provided fresh opportunity. Did simple stuff well. Will never deliver much more.
Jorginho 7: Poise on ball helped take sting out of hosts. Always provided an option.
Mason Mount 7: Almost deceived Onana with early shot. Willing facilitator for Hudson-Odoi and Alonso on left.
Willian 6: Key moment was being felled by Tadic. Made way for Pulisic, who crafted goal.
Tammy Abraham 6: Forced to feed on scraps and, selflessly, run the channels. Not the England international’s night.
Callum Hudson-Odoi 6: Duel to savour with 18-year-old full-back Dest. Moved right when Pulisic came on.
Christian Pulisic 7: United States international made his mark with mesmerising dribble and dangerous centre for Batshuayi goal. That’s three assists in last four Blues run-outs.
Michy Batshuayi 7: Thrashed at fortuitous early chance, then fired perfectly into roof of goal. Three-successive games with a goal for club and country.
Reece James N/A: A fourth senior Chelsea appearance came late on for highly rated full-back.
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