Olivier Giroud’s first goal of the season helped Chelsea into the last 32 of the Europa League as they edged to victory over Bate Borisov.
The France international headed Emerson’s cross in at the near post early in the second period to maintain the Blues’ 100% Group L record.
Chelsea are now six points clear of Hungarian side MOL Vidi, who moved up to second in the group with a win over PAOK Salonika.
Despite the chilly conditions in Belarus, a white-hot atmosphere greeted Maurizio Sarri’s side at a tightly-packed Borisov Arena.
And it was the hosts, who had confirmed their 13th consecutive Belarusian league title on Sunday, who initially went on the offensive.
During a 60-second period, Bate twice carved out opportunities with Dmitri Baga’s rasping drive hitting the post and Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga athletically saving Stanislav Dragun’s header from a corner.
But as Chelsea grew more assured, the hosts retreated, and early in the second half Emerson’s cross allowed Giroud to nod the ball in at the near post, his first goal since May.
That prompted a strong response from Bate, but Nikolai Signevich struck the left post and Aleksey Rios blazed over from close range as the Blues held on to win.