Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

Fixtures & Results

Costa Rica CRI 0

Serbia SRB 1

REPORT

Germany GER 0

Mexico MEX 1

REPORT

Brazil BRA 1

Switzerland SUI 1

REPORT

Sweden SWE 1

South Korea KOR 0

REPORT

Belgium BEL 3

Panama PAN 0

REPORT

Tunisia TUN 1

England ENG 2

REPORT

Colombia COL 1

Japan JPN 2

REPORT

Poland POL 1

Senegal SEN 2

REPORT

Russia RUS

Egypt EGY

Portugal POR

Morocco MAR

Uruguay URY

Saudi Arabia SAU

Iran IRN

Spain ESP

Denmark DNK

Australia AUS

France FRA

Peru PER

Argentina ARG

Croatia CRO

Brazil BRA

Costa Rica CRI

Nigeria NGA

Iceland ISL

Serbia SRB

Switzerland SUI

Belgium BEL

Tunisia TUN

South Korea KOR

Mexico MEX

Germany GER

Sweden SWE

England ENG

Panama PAN

Japan JPN

Senegal SEN

Poland POL

Colombia COL

Saudi Arabia SAU

Egypt EGY

Uruguay URY

Russia RUS

Spain ESP

Morocco MAR

Iran IRN

Portugal POR

Denmark DNK

France FRA

Australia AUS

Peru PER

Iceland ISL

Croatia CRO

Nigeria NGA

Argentina ARG

Mexico MEX

Sweden SWE

South Korea KOR

Germany GER

Switzerland SUI

Costa Rica CRI

Serbia SRB

Brazil BRA

Senegal SEN

Colombia COL

Japan JPN

Poland POL

Panama PAN

Tunisia TUN

England ENG

Belgium BEL

Home Sport Football European

Conte delighted as Chelsea bounce back with six appeal

Chelsea 6 Qarabag 0

By Matt McGeehan

Chelsea marked their Champions League return with a 6-0 Group C rout of Azerbaijan's Qarabag, but sterner tests await. Goals from Pedro, Davide Zappacosta, Cesar Azpilicueta, substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi ensured a comfortable return to Europe's elite after last season's absence.

The sixth was bundled in by a combination of Batshuayi and defender Maksim Medvedev.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said: "It was a good result. We started the Champions League in the right way. I saw great commitment, focus and concentration. It was a great performance.

"There were lots of positives. Davide Zappacosta played very well and Eden Hazard is trying to find his best form.It's very important to give players like Andreas Christiansen an opportunity. They must understand I trust them."

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas added: "It was a good performance, a good result.

"You never know if goals (difference) will count at the end of the group stage. We are getting back to our best.

"We rotated five players. We have nine games in 21 days. It's a difficult period. We weren't used to this last year as we weren't in the Champions League."

Chelsea next play Atletico Madrid with the saga surrounding Diego Costa rumbling on, before home and away clashes with Roma. It is those games which will determine the Blues' progress or otherwise.

Zappacosta's 30th-minute strike was the highlight.

The Italian, signed on deadline day from Torino and making his Champions League debut, struck from wide on the right.

It appeared to be an attempted cross which, for him and Chelsea, was wonderfully miscued.

Qarabag beat the champions of Georgia, Moldova and Denmark to become the first Azerbaijan side to reach the Champions League group stages. The English champions proved a different proposition, despite Conte rotating his options for the second of seven matches in September.

Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Bakayoko were among the substitutes, while Batshuayi, Andreas Christensen and Zappacosta were given an opportunity.

N'Golo Kante was making his Champions League debut despite winning the Premier League in successive seasons with Leicester and then Chelsea. And the France midfielder thrived in a ruthless team performance.

Marauding left wing-back Marcos Alonso had a shot punched away unconvincingly by goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic before Chelsea took a fifth-minute lead.

A short corner was worked by Willian to Pedro, who, unmarked, curled the ball in.

Sehic denied Willian and Batshuayi was unable to turn in the rebound from a tight angle before Chelsea's second.

Thibaut Courtois rolled the ball to Zappacosta, deep in his own half. He ran down the right, by two would-be tacklers and looked for a target in the area.

But, with goalkeeper Sehic off his line, what appeared to be a misdirected cross found the net.

Pedro Henrique had a shot held by Courtois as Qarabag refused to sit back. Their defending was woeful and Azpilicueta headed in a Fabregas cross to make it 3-0 in the second half.

Willian hit the bar before Bakayoko's deflected effort went in after another short corner.

Next, Bakayoko and Batshuayi combined, the latter drilling in.

A Zappacosta cross was then turned goalwards by Batshuayi, with Medvedev hapless in his attempts to prevent the goal.

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta (Rudiger, 75 mins), Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta, Kante (Bakayoko, 63 mins), Fabregas, Alonso, Willian, Batshuayi, Pedro (Hazard, 58 mins). Unused subs: Caballero, Morata, Moses, Luiz.

Qarabag: Sehic, Medvedev, Guseynov, Sadygov (Madatov, 70 mins), Rzezniczak, Garayev (Diniyev, 70 mins), Pedro Henrique (Elyounoussi, 77 mins), Michel, Almeida, Guerrier, Ndlovu. Unused subs: Kanibolotskiy, Amirguliyev, Ismayilov, Yunuszadze.

Man of the match: Davide Zappacosta

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Tasos Sidiropoulos (Greece)

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph