Romelu Lukaku scored his first Champions League goal for Chelsea because the holders started their title defence with a laborious-fought 1-0 get better from Russian Champions Zenit St Petersburg at Stamford Bridge.
Within the historical previous of the UEFA Champions League, the title holders have totally misplaced their first sport of the subsequent campaign on two of 27 old instances. Although Chelsea restricted Zenit to exiguous going the diversified blueprint on this match, it regarded as even supposing Thomas Tuchel’s aspect may most likely maybe well be pissed off at Stamford Bridge with a scoreless blueprint.
All once more, club-file signing Romelu Lukaku followed up his double in opposition to Aston Villa with a towering 69th-minute header to get the Blues up and working in Group H.
Chelsea ahead Romelu Lukaku headed residence within the 69th minute to hand Chelsea the get in opposition to Zenit St Petersburg. | PHOTO: Courtesy |
Lukaku’s gracious-wanting header proved decisive, nonetheless Zenit may most likely maybe well peaceable have leveled when change Artem Dzyuba was unable to convert from five yards out as Chelsea’s profligacy went unpunished.
Despite a dominant starting up, Chelsea had been caught a frosty defensively within the 12th minute, with Reece James factual managing to dam Claudinho’s course to the again of the acquire.
Chelsea gamers joining Lukaku in celebrating the target in opposition to Zenit. | PHOTO: Courtesy |
The pattern persevered, Chelsea prodding and probing with none price of a breakthrough thanks to a stunning and tight Zenit protection, Yaroslav Rakitskiy’s tame 38th-minute effort marking the totally strive on route within the first half of, old to Lukaku headed James’ spoiled over old to the destroy.
It took defender Antonio Rudiger to spark the crowd into lifestyles with a charging 50-yard elope, the Germany world sending his shot factual huge from the perimeter of the residence.
Rudiger made an critical intervention at the diversified cease, timing a bother on Sardar Azmoun, who was heading by approach to on goal, to perfection.
Chelsea made Rudiger’s work count, Cesar Azpilicueta floating in a spoiled that Lukaku directed powerfully into the bottom left nook.
Marcos Alonso drilled huge as Chelsea hunted for a 2d, even supposing parity may most likely maybe well peaceable were restored moments later.
Azmoun squared to his strike accomplice Dzyuba, factual for the Russian ahead to sever huge on the bolt and let Chelsea off the hook.
The diversified ti in Group H saw Juventus crush Malmo 3-0 in Sweden. Chelsea will subsequent accelerate to Turin to face Juventus within the Champions League later this month as Zenit will host Malmo in Petersburg.
This get made Lukaku have four targets in four outings for Chelsea in all competitions. The Blues are again to League action on Sunday after they get hosted by London neighbors Tottenham Hotspurs at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium.