Chelsea hit Qarabag for six in crushing opening win
Champions League, Stamford Bridge – Chelsea 6 (Pedro 5’, Zappacosta 30’, Azpilicueta 55’, Bakayoko 71’, Batshuayi 76’, 82’)
Chelsea marked their return to the Champions League in style as they smashed Qarabag FK 6-0 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.
Pedro opened the scoring with a fine finish from the edge of the area before new signing Davide Zappacosta marked his first Chelsea start with a goal, that may well have been a shot.
Chelsea's Davide Zappacosta celebrates scoring their second goalReuters
Antonio Conte’s side gave the Champions League debutants a baptism of fire, looking entirely comfortable from the outset. It took only five minutes for the deadlock to be broken, when a Cesc Fabregas corner found Pedro on the edge of the area in vast amounts of space. The Spaniard’s first-time shot found the top corner from 25 yards.
Chelsea, who have scored in each of their last 25 Champions League group stage home games, piled the pressure on Gurban Gurbanov’s side, with Marcos Alonso and Zappacosta looking particularly threatening out wide.
At the half hour mark, Zappacosta sealed a dream debut with a stunning goal. The £22.5m deadline-day signing went on a marauding run down the right flank before firing a sensational shot over the head of goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic from around 30 yards out.
Are Chelsea true Champions League contenders?
After a year in the continental wilderness, The Blues have started their Champions League campaign in the best way possible. They were, however, flattered by some very poor defending from the opposition. Chelsea will feel confident about escaping a challenging group after this performance, but both Manchester clubs might have a better claim to go deeper in the tournament.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea): His full debut for the Blues couldn’t have gone much better. In addition to scoring a superb goal - which, admittedly, may have been a cross, the Italian was a constant threat on the right flank.
5' - CHANCE: Christensen floats a lovely ball to Batshuayi in the box, who lays it down to Alonso. Alonso shoots and it's knocked away for another corner.
5' - GOAL: Pedro opens the scoring! Fabregas plays a corner back to Pedro on the box of the box, who slots it into the top corner with his first touch.
14' - CHANCE: Qarabag win a free kick on the edge of the area. Guerrier blasts it over the bar.
29' - GOAL: A ZAPPACOSTA GOLAZO! The Italian charges down the right flank and shoots from near the edge of the box. It sails over Sehic and into the net. A good night just got better for the former Torino man.
55' - GOAL: Azpilacueta makes it three. Fabregas puts a cross in from the right and the Spanish defender heads it into the net with little pressure from the Qarabag defence.
70' - GOAL: Bakayoko gets his first Chelsea goal through a cruel deflection.
75' - GOAL: Batshuayi makes it five! Bakayoko intercepts a lazy Qarabag pass 30 yards from goal and puts it in the path of Michy. This is too easy now.
81- GOAL: It's six. Batshuayi deflects one in as Zappacosta wins the ball on the left flank and rolls in an easy assist. It's given as an own goal for Medvedev.
Chelsea have won their Champions League group in each of their last three appearances, and 11 times in total.
Zappacosta became the 100th Italian to score in the Champions League.