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Live Commentary: BATE Borisov 0-1 Chelsea - as it happened

:Headline: Live Commentary: BATE Borisov 0-1 Chelsea - as it happened:
Relive Sports Mole's live coverage as Chelsea earn a place in the last 32 of the Europa League with a 1-0 victory over BATE Borisov.
By , Senior Reporter | 10mo

Chelsea have earned a place in the last 32 of the Europa League with a 1-0 victory over BATE Borisov in Thursday's fixture in Belarus.

Olivier Giroud scored the only goal of the game just after half time, with the Frenchman glancing a header inside the near post for his first of the campaign.

However, BATE were unfortunate not to gain a share of the spoils with the home side striking the woodwork on three separate occasions.

Find out how all of the action unfolded at the Borisov Arena courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates below.

Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the Europa League encounter between BATE Borisov and Chelsea. The Premier League side have put together a 100% record in this season's competition, but BATE have the potential to trouble the Blues in Belarus.
Without further ado, let's press on with the team news, starting with who Maurizio Sarri has selected in his Chelsea starting lineup.
CHELSEA XI: Arrizabalaga; Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, Emerson; Jorginho, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek; Pedro, Hazard, Giroud

CHELSEA SUBSTITUTES: Caballero, Azpilicueta, Ampadu, Kante, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Willian

Maurizio Sarri has opted to make as many as seven changes to the team which defeated Crystal Palace at the weekend, with the most notable selection being the inclusion of Eden Hazard. The Belgian has not started a game since October 20 due to a back injury, but the playmaker gets the chance to build his match fitness tonight.
Alvaro Morata has been rested due to deputising for Olivier Giroud for several matches, but Giroud is fit again after suffering from muscle fatigue. Pedro gets the nod over Willian on the flank.
Cesc Fabregas would have started this match had it not been for illness, so Jorginho is forced to feature in the middle of the park. The Italy international will be supported by Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The back four is as expected with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso all being rested. Kepa Arrizabalaga remains between the sticks with Willy Caballero having to make do with a place on the bench.
Chelsea fans will hope that both Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi are given some minutes off the bench after rarely being used by Sarri. Kovacic and Willian are also options for the Italian.
BATE BORISOV XI: Scherbitski; Rios, Volkov, Filipenko, Filipovic, Baga, Dragun, Hleb, Skavysh, Signevich, Stasevich

BATE BORISOV SUBSTITUTES: Yablonski, Berezkin, Ivanic, Tuominen, Polyakov, Chichkan, Moukam

As for BATE, Alyaksey Baha has opted to go with Nikolai Signevich in attack rather than handing a starting role to Jasse Tuominen, who has recently contributed to Finland's resurgence on the international scene.
Baha has also decided to rely on the experience of Alexander Hleb, who is best known for his spells at Arsenal and Barcelona. The now 37-year-old has also represented Birmingham City.
It's a bit on the cold side in Belarus, as this tweet suggests!

One more win will be enough for Chelsea to progress through to the last 32. They hold a six-point advantage over the rest of the teams in Group L, with BATE, PAOK and Videoton all having one victory win apiece.
The reverse fixture took place just two weeks ago with Chelsea emerging victorious by a 3-1 scoreline. Click here to take a look back at that contest.
Chelsea head into this game having put together a six-match winning streak in the Europa League. Their last defeat came at Rubin Kazan in the 2013 quarter-finals, but the Blues were still able to progress on aggregate.
Sarri has an unbeaten record of his own to protect, with the Italian having gone 16 games unbeaten since the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City.
Goals are also not proving to be a problem for the Blues. They have netted 18 times in their last half-a-dozen meetings in all competitions, with at least two goals coming in each contest.
Sarri has taken the opportunity to rotate his squad in this competition with as many as 21 players having already been given minutes. Caballero or Ampadu would take that higher should they be introduced tonight.
Let's turn our attention to BATE now, whose confidence would have been high after a 2-0 win away at Videoton back in September. However, seven goals have been conceded in defeats to PAOK and Chelsea, leaving the club bottom of the table on goal difference.
BATE have lost four of their five matches against English clubs. Their only triumph came at Goodison Park in 2009 when they got the better of Everton by a 1-0 scoreline.
However, their recent record in the Europa League is a dismal one. They have suffered eight defeats and conceded 33 goals in their last 15 matches.
On a more positive note, BATE have already wrapped up the league title. As many as 22 wins have been recorded in 27 outings, with a 14-point lead being established with just three games remaining.
Chelsea are doing their best to get warm. It's the kind of conditions which can lead to muscle injuries, so Sarri and his staff will be making sure that their players have done all of their drills.

There is the possibility that Chelsea could be complacent heading into this match, but Kovacic has spoken out about the West Londoners potentially taking their foot off the gas. Click here to read the Croatian's thoughts.
PREDICTION! Sarri and his squad will be aware that victory in Belarus will see qualification wrapped up with two games to spare, and that should lead to a professional performance from the Blues. BATE have enjoyed success at their home ground in the past, but we expect Chelsea to ease to a comfortable win. Chelsea to prevail by a 4-1 scoreline.
HEAD TO HEAD! Thursday's fixture will represent just the second competitive meeting between the sides, with October's clash marking Chelsea's first-ever clash against Belarusian opposition.
BATE have twice hosted English sides in this competition, with Everton having to come from behind to earn a 2-1 win back in 2009. Arsenal resisted a late fightback to run out 4-2 victors last year.
A reminder that after this game, we will be providing coverage of Arsenal's meeting with Sporting Lisbon. The Gunners are also in a position where a fourth successive win will seal their progress through to the knockout stages.
It's time for the two teams to start making their way out in Belarus. It's currently 3C in Barysaw, and it is only going to get lower as the match progresses.
A reminder of the two starting lineups...

BATE BORISOV XI: Scherbitski; Rios, Volkov, Filipenko, Filipovic, Baga, Dragun, Hleb, Skavysh, Signevich, Stasevich

CHELSEA XI: Arrizabalaga; Zappacosta, Christensen, Cahill, Emerson; Jorginho, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek; Pedro, Hazard, Giroud

KICKOFF:  BATE get us underway.
The home side have started this game extremely brightly and they are keeping Chelsea on the back foot. A low cross has also troubled Christensen and Cahill, but the danger was averted.
Chelsea have responded with some possession of their own, but a break down the right came to an end after a poor decision from Pedro.
More positive play from the visitors sees Barkley attempt a shot from 30 yards out, but the Englishman's strike hits Giroud and is deflected over the crossbar.
Chelsea are starting to control the game now, but they are struggling to carve out an opportunity for their front three. BATE are doing enough for the time being, but the pressure is building.
More of the same from the Blues, but BATE continue to hold firm without much fuss. The home side would probably deem a draw to be an excellent result, so you can understand why they are not committing too many men forward.
OFF THE POST!  BATE almost take the lead! Baha tries his luck from all of 25 yards out, and his strike beats Arrizabalaga and hits the post! It's a stunning effort and a big let off for the visitors.
SAVE!  The hosts win a corner and Arrizabalaga is forced into action to prevent Drahun's near-post header from finding the far bottom corner. Chelsea are rocking a little here.
Chelsea revert back to trying to keep hold of the ball and rightly so, too. BATE look the more likely to open the scoring right now.
Hazard has not played any significant role in the match so far, and the Belgian is starting to get a bit frustrated. He has just stopped running because of the slightest tug of the shirt, and the referee correctly told him to get on with the game.
SHOT!  Barkley picks out Giroud with a delightful pass over the top of the defence, but the Frenchman slices a volley well wide of the post from around 12 yards out.
When Chelsea do attack, BATE are defending with all 10 outfield players behind the ball. It means that the ball is always coming straight back at the home side, but it is proving to be effective.
The struggle goes on for Hazard with Pedro failing to find his teammate in a threatening position out on the left. The Belgian won't play all of this contest, so he needs to get himself involved sooner rather than later.
Chelsea have managed to get Zappacosta involved down the right on a number of occasions, but I don't think the Italian has found his intended target with a cross yet. It's one of those nights for Chelsea so far.
On a more positive note, Arrizabalaga has had nothing else to do since that BATE flurry during the opening stages. He must stay alert, however. The home side look a threat when they commit players forward.
We should probably praise Chelsea for their patience. They are yet to create anything meaningful on goal, but they aren't rushing things in the middle third. That said, Giroud has barely touched the ball.
Emerson takes things into his own hands with a long-range effort from 25 yards, but the strike is blocked by a defender.
BATE are back with 10 outfield players behind the ball and it is ensuring that the pattern of the game is not changing. Chelsea could have done with Fabregas to pick a pass out.
Sarri is starting to look agitated on the bench. This isn't the kind of match that he would have been expecting. His team are trying their best, but nothing is working in the final third.
SHOT!  Rightly or wrongly, Emerson looks to be the only player who is willing to try his luck from distance. Another effort goes wide of the target.
You have to wonder whether Sarri will change things at the break. Willian is the obvious introduction but with Hazard and Giroud unlikely to last the full 90 minutes, both men could be withdrawn.
CHANCE!  Chelsea win a corner on the right and Hazard's outswinger finds the head of Giroud. The Frenchman makes good contact with the ball, but it goes marginally wide of the far post.
The visitors have upped the tempo over the past few minutes, and the BATE backline now have some work to do. Looks like they are going to see out the rest of the first half, though.
HALF TIME:  BATE Borisov 0-0 Chelsea
The half-time whistle goes in Belarus and we remain on level terms after a really dull opening 45 minutes. Chelsea have dominated possession, but the best two opportunities have gone to BATE, both in the space of a minute of each other. Chelsea have work to do in order to earn a fourth successive win.
BATE's first near miss came through Baha, who struck the post with a terrific 25-yard strike which had beaten Arrizabalaga before hitting the woodwork. Drahun then tested the Spaniard with a header from a corner, but the goalkeeper reacted well to his right.
The closest that Chelsea have come is through Giroud, who sent a header just wide of the far post after meeting a Hazard corner. Chelsea have rarely threatened with the ball in open play, despite having 78% of possession.
KICKOFF:  Chelsea get us back underway.
The Blues start the second half much faster than they did the first, but conceding a cheap free kick in the middle of the park gifts the ball back to the home side.
Chelsea get back on the front foot but a cross from Emerson is deflected out for a corner. Nothing comes from the resulting set piece, but Chelsea quickly win a free kick in a threatening position.
Hazard takes responsibility for the delivery, but the cross is marginally over-hit and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
GOAL!  BATE Borisov 0-1 Chelsea (Olivier Giroud)
Breakthrough for Chelsea! The ball is worked out wide for Emerson and the left-back picks out the run of Giroud at the near post, who glances a header inside the post from eight yards. It's his first of the season!
This game should change now. BATE need to show a bit more ambition and Chelsea can afford to hit the home side on the break should they come under any sustained pressure.
Chelsea are starting to play with a swagger and Hazard plays a one-two with Giroud before seeing his shot from the edge of the area blocked by a defender.
OFF THE BAR!  Another close call for Chelsea! A scuffed shot from distance is diverted towards goal by Signevich, but his effort hits the underside of the crossbar before being claimed by Arrizabalaga. The goalkeeper initially got nowhere near that.
CHANCE!  What a miss! There is no doubting that BATE should be level. The ball is pulled back for Rios - who scored at Stamford Bridge - but the right-back sends a shot from 12 yards over the crossbar! He only had to hit the target.
SHOT!  Back come Chelsea as Barkley sees a long-range effort tipped wide by the goalkeeper. Change coming up for Chelsea...
SUBSTITUTION! Hazard has got through 62 minutes unscathed and it leads to Sarri replacing the winger with Willian.
CHANCE!  Now Chelsea should score. An outswinging corner finds Giroud who has a free header from by the penalty spot, but the ball is tipped over by Scherbitsky.
SUBSTITUTION! Sarri moves to make another alteration as Kovacic replaces Loftus-Cheek.
It still feels like there is going to be another goal in this game. There appears to be more space at both ends of the pitch. It might be why Sarri has introduced Kovacic.
SHOT!  Barkley finds some space for himself on the edge of the area, but his 25-yard curler goes just over the crossbar.
Chelsea are doing their best to try to stretch the game because there are some tired legs in the BATE side. They have worked really hard to keep this down to 1-0, and they probably should be at least level.
SUBSTITUTION! BATE make their first alteration as Touminen comes on for Signevich.
Chelsea's final change will depend on how the next 10 minutes go. Kante will likely come on if it remains 1-0 or Chelsea get pegged back but if a second can be found, maybe Hudson-Odoi or Ampadu will get a chance to shine.
SUBSTITUTION! BATE make another change as Moukam is introduced for Skavysh.
Not a lot has happened over the last five minutes or so. Chelsea are doing their best to see out the remaining minutes without playing too cautiously, while BATE are not seeing enough of the ball to pose a threat.
SUBSTITUTION! That's the end of Hleb's night, and the veteran is replaced by Berezkin.
BATE have had more of the ball over the last few minutes, but they still haven't come close to finding a late leveller. There is still time but the longer that this goes on, Chelsea will shut up shop.
Chelsea almost create a chance for Pedro on the edge of the area but once again, a defender makes a timely block. It's time for another Chelsea change...
SUBSTITUTION! Hudson-Odoi gets the chance to gain some experience in a European fixture away from home, with Pedro the man to make way.
SHOT!  Berezkin takes it upon himself to get a shot away from around 20 yards, but his low effort goes just wide of Arrizabalaga's far post.
The closing stages have not produced a lot of goalmouth action, but both teams are still looking to push forward. Chelsea are seeing a lot more of the ball, though.
There will be three minutes of added-on time.
Chelsea win a late corner and rather surprisingly, Christensen and Cahill are sent up. The set piece comes to nothing, but it takes a bit of time out of the game.
OFF THE POST!  So close for BATE! A corner is only half-cleared to the edge of the area but a volley - I think it was from Baha - hits the post!
FULL TIME:  BATE Borisov 0-1 Chelsea
The full-time whistle goes in Belarus and Chelsea have just about held on to register a 1-0 win thanks to Giroud's second-half header. The Blues progress through to the last 32, but they still require a point to finish as winners of Group L.
That will be all from Sports Mole for this match. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you can stick around for Arsenal's encounter with Sporting Lisbon.

If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.

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