Chelsea 1-0 Zenit Saint Petersburg
But : Lukaku (69e) for the Blues
Yes, Chelsea have perfectly strengthened in the position where they needed it.
A first half to go around in circles, a second to look for the loophole before seeing Romelu Lukaku find it: the defending champion has started the defense of his title against Zenith Saint Petersburg.
For a long time, the highlight of the evening will have been the presentation of the various individual trophies to the Blues by Aleksander Čeferin. For 45 minutes, the two teams were perfectly annihilated on the meadow, making it impossible for the opponent to find any space. And to make matters worse, Thomas Tuchel’s men missed almost everything on a technical level, to the point of having to wait for the resumption to finally frame by Ziyech (47e).
The start of hostilities with Antonio Rüdiger, who finally set fire to Stamford Bridge with a fantastic ride, but in vain (50e). Opposite, the Russians try to bite into every opportunity, and it takes a very good return from the German international in front of Azmoun to avoid a cold sweat (61e). But the pressure from Londoners gradually intensifies and ends up being rewarded with a winning helmet hit from Lukaku (1-0, 69e), resuming a caress from César Azpilicueta. The time of a last fear on a tackle outside the frame of Dziouba (81e), and the European champion gleans a first success in this group stage.
The title defense is launched.
Chelsea (3-4-3) : Mendy – Azpilicueta (T. Silva, 83e), Christensen, Rüdiger – James, Kovačić, Jorginho, Alonso (Chilwell, 83e) – Mount (Loftus-Cheek, 90e+3), Ziyech (Havertz, 63e) – Lukaku. Coach: Thomas Tuchel.
Zenit St. Petersburg (4-1-4-1): Kritsiouk – Sutormin, Chistyakov, Rakitskiy (Krougovoï, 88e), Santos – Barrios – Malcom (Dziouba, 76e), Wendel (Yerokhine, 76e), Kouziaïev (Kravtsov, 82e), Claudinho (Mostovoï, 88e) – Azmoun. Coach: Sergei Semak.