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Kante has won Player of the Match in his last 4 Champions League knockout games

After every UEFA Champions League knockout stage game, UEFA presents an official Player of the Match award to honor the best players in Europe’s top club competition which Kante has dominated recently.

At each game, UEFA technical observers assess who deserves to be named Player of the Match, with an official trophy presented to the winner after full time. 

After Chelsea’s past four Champions League knockout round matches, N’Golo Kante was voted UEFA Man of the Match. 

Last season, he was selected player of the match when Chelsea defeated Real Madrid in the semi-finals, and he was also named player of the match against Manchester City in the final. 

In the match against Lille, Kante was selected player of the match for the second time.

Read more “Manchester United have been better than Liverpool with Rangnick in charge” Ferdinand

Chelsea won 2-0 against an ineffective Lille side at Stamford Bridge, extending their winning streak to six games in all categories ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Liverpool. 

Thomas Tuchel chose Kai Havertz to lead the line in place of the much-maligned Romelu Lukaku, and the German star could have had a hat-trick within the first ten minutes. 

First, his outstretched toe couldn’t complete César Azpilicueta’s low cross, before Léo Jardim pushed his bending left-footed curler around the post.

Chelsea have scored more goals from corners than any other club in the Champions League this season, and the former Bayer Leverkusen forward got the breakthrough from the ensuing set-piece, heading in Hakim Ziyech’s corner to his manager’s joy. 

The ‘Blues’ have won their last four UCL games on home turf without conceding a goal, but Havertz’s opener seemed to calm Lille down, as Renato Sanches began to command play from central positions, with Jonathan David splitting the lines whenever he could. 

Chelsea had a worrisome record of four consecutive last-16 exits in this competition before winning the 2021 edition, but they are no strangers to defying expectations, and they tightened their hold on this tie midway through the second half.

N’Golo Kanté raced forward before neatly passing to Christian Pulisic, who hoisted the ball over the onrushing goalie and into the far corner of the net to increase the hosts’ advantage. 

“I was very pleased with him today,” Tuchel said. “It took him a while. It was not the real N’Golo in the last few matches, struggled a for a bit of belief in his intensity and in his game in general.

“It was good he stepped up today. It was good to see and you can instantly see how big the impact is when he is in good shape.

“He’s our game changer. I’m happy for him and the team.”

Lille manager Jocelyn Gourvennec said: “He is an impressive player who gives others no time at all [on the ball].

“He can break quickly, our man tried to foul him and couldn’t that moment was the key to the game. Through his intensity he dictated the tempo for Chelsea.”

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