Chelsea 1-0 Zenit: Lukaku Bags in Blues Victory
Chelsea came out as 1-0 winners as the Blues beat Zenit on the opening day of the Champions League group stages.
Romelu Lukaku scored from a Cesar Azpilicueta cross with 20 minutes to go in a fairly uneventful game.
Elsewhere, Juventus beat Malmo to go top of Group H on the opening day.
The Blues started the game on the front foot, controlling posession and looking for an early goal.
Hakim Ziyech was looking to turn onto his left foot to provide Romelu Lukaku with chances, whilst Mason Mount looked to cut in from the left hand-side.
Zenit registered the only shot on target of an uneventful half as Yaroslav Rakits’kyy turned onto his left foot to curl a shot into Edouard Mendy’s gloves.
Ziyech registered Chelsea’s first shot on target, controlling a ball and hitting a take volley goalbounds but this was kept out by the Zenit goalkeeper.
Antonio Rudiger made a mazy run just moments later, taking the ball from well inside his own half before beating half of the Zenit team and flashing a shot wide.
Reece James was close to putting Chelsea into the lead, receiving a lay-off from Lukaku in the box but the defender’s left footed shot ended up in the sidenetting.
Chelsea finally broke the deadlock through Lukaku. Cesar Azpilicueta picked the ball up on the edge of the Zenit area and picked out the Belgian with a fantastic weighted cross for Lukaku to head low and past the Zenit goalkeeper.
The visitors should have equalised through substitute Artem Dzyuba, who receives a fantastic low cross across the six yard box. However, the Russian could not convert as Mendy challenged him.
Chelsea made several substitutions, including giving Ben Chilwell his first minutes of the season, as they held on to the 1-0 win.