The step was too high. Despite a convincing performance, as in the first leg, Losc failed to overthrow Chelsea at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium, Wednesday March 16 (1-2), in the round of 16 second leg of the Champions League.
“Of course we believe in it, otherwise we wouldn’t have come!” On the forecourt of the Pierre-Mauroy stadium before the match, Lille supporters dreamed of qualifying. To try to hang on to this dream, the red and white public responded by pushing their players as rarely, even in the VIP boxes. Greeted by smokers as they got off the bus, the Mastiffs were then cheered by the approximately 50,000 supporters present, who then resumed the end of the Champions League anthem at the top of their lungs, while no less than three tifos were deployed in the stands.
— Hortense Leblanc (@hortense_lblnc) March 16, 2022
Believing in their lucky stars, Jocelyn Gourvennec’s men showed a conquering face. Coherent, technically more accurate and diligent in their pressing, they stood up to the defending champions and even offered themselves the luxury of opening the scoring from the penalty spot thanks to Burak Yilmaz (38th minute). Full of composure as the public chanted his name, the Turk cheated on Edouard Mendy. Unfortunately for the Mastiffs, their hopes of returning to Chelsea were quickly dashed. A few seconds before returning to the locker room, Christian Pulisic allowed the Blues, dressed in yellow for the evening, to equalize on one of the rare dangerous actions of Chelsea in the first period.
While Lille hosted a Champions League round of 16 for the first time – its only round of 16 had been relocated to the Bollaert stadium in Lens in 2007 – the Northerners wanted to honor the most prestigious of European competitions and resumed their forward in the second half. However, once again, they may regret not having put the Londoners in more danger on their offensive phases. As Xeka had just found the post with a header shortly after the hour mark, the Mastiffs were punished in the process by the realism of Chelsea, with a goal from César Azpilicueta, waking up the 2,000 Chelsea fans until then dumb.
Eight shots on each side, only one on target for Lille against four for the European champions… The statistics do not lie and reflect the difference in level and experience of the two evening opponents. Losc pays to learn. The Mastiffs will at least have left the stadium to the loud applause of their broken-voiced supporters. The Blues meanwhile join Villareal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Atlético de Madrid, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Benfica Lisbon in the quarter-finals.