Tammy Abraham grabbed a birthday goal and Willian marked his 300th Chelsea appearance with the second as Chelsea won 2-1 in Lille.
Abraham, expected to earn an England call-up on Thursday, registered his first Champions League goal before Lille equalised through their own exciting young striker, Victor Osimhen.
But Willian’s late volley secured a crucial first three points for Frank Lampard’s side in Group H.
7 – Victor Osimhen has scored 7 goals in 10 games with Lille in all comps this season, all at home. Only Andrea Belotti (8) has scored more home goals than Victor Osimhen (7) in all comps among the players from the Top 5 European Leagues. Treasure. pic.twitter.com/5L6zyVHIpL— OptaJean (@OptaJean) October 2, 2019
Lampard had played down the significance of this match but after dropping all three points to Valencia at home two weeks ago, and with a trip to to Ajax next up, the margin for error would have got a lot smaller without a victory.
Abraham celebrated his 22nd birthday with a goal in the 22nd minute after Marcos Alonso, in an advanced position down the left, laid the ball back to Fikayo Tomori.
The young defender launched it into the area where Abraham, just onside, was able to control the ball, spin and place it beyond Lille keeper Mike Maignan.
Kepa could do nothing to prevent an unmarked Osimhen from heading in at the far post from a corner to equalise.
Nigeria will lose out on Abraham once he makes his competitive debut for England, but the country’s attack looks in safe hands with Osimhen.