‘Wizard’ Hakim Ziyech’s first-half goal set the pace for Chelsea to a routine victory and their first Champions League quarter-final appearance in seven long years.
Tagged the wizard in Ajax, Ziyech dug into his bag of tricks and delightfully side-footed the ball home from close range to round off a brilliant counter-attack to double the aggregate lead against Atletico Madrid at Stamford Bridge.
A buoyant Thomas Tuchel side stayed resolute and maintained their dominance after the break with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Antonio Rudiger all pressing close before substitute Emerson’s strike wrapped up the win in injury-time. The only moment of major concern came when Cesar Azpilicueta was fortunate enough to avoid giving away a penalty at 0-0 when he briefly tugged at Yannick Carrasco‘s shirt after having underhit a back pass.
The hosts capitalised on their fortuitously break and pressed on for victory.
The crucial opener prevailed when Kai Havertz quickly reacted to N’Golo Kante’s headed clearance and instinctively relaped the pass to Timo Werner, whose cross was turned in first time by Ziyech.
Chelsea had squandered numerous chances to increase their lead before finally succeeding on another breakaway when substitute Emerson slid the ball home from fellow sub Christian Pulisic’s pass.
The draw for the quarter-finals takes place on Friday.