Chelsea 6 Qarabag 0: Davide Zappacosta strike lights up the bridge as Blues cruise to win

CHELSEA'S return to the Champions League saw Stamford Bridge treated to a stunning goal from Davide Zappacosta.


Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Dailystar.co.uk

Chelsea 6 Qarabag 0: Davide Zappacosta strike lights up the bridge as Blues cruise to win
Davide Zappacosta celebrates his maiden Chelsea goal

How the Italian scored from 30 yards out on the right touchline only he really knows, but it was a strike to remember, however he did it.

There seemed no danger in the 30th minute as he burst down with purpose and zest, but when the £23m signing from Torino connected with the ball it flew across goal-wards.

It may have been meant as a cross, but the sheer power and late dip on the ball saw it whizz over keeper Ibrahim Sehic and flash into the net.

Boss Antonio Conte was thrilled on the touchline and so was his fellow Italian after his first goal for the Blues.

In their debut game in the Champions League group stage, Azerbaijan side Qarabag were never going to have things easy at the home of the champions of England.

And with Arsenal the visitors to Stamford Bridge in the league on Sunday, their limited threat seemed like providing a gentle reintroduction to Europe's top club competition for Chelsea.

Marcos Alonso was on target in the fourth minute with a shot Sahic beat away.

A minute later the west Londoners went ahead. Following a short corner from Cesc Fabregas, Willian strode in from the right and, unmarked, smacked a curler from the just on the 'D' which Sehic could only claw into the net.

Pedro's last appearance in the Champions League was in the 2015 final when he came on in the 89th minute of Barcelona's 3-1 victory over Juventus in Berlin, picking up his third Champions League medal following successes in 2009 and 2011.

Willian had a goal-bound effort tipped away by Sahic and when Michy Batshauyi missed the target with the follow-up Conte did not look best pleased.

Pedro Henrique was on target in the 37th minute for Qarabag after cutting onto his left foot, but Thibaut Courtois was able to gather easily.

Home fans amused themselves, by shouting "shoot!" every time Italy international Zappacosta received the ball out wide following his goal.

With record signing Alvaro Morata on the bench this clash provided a chance for Batshuayi to show his strengths, but the Belgium struggled to make an impact in the centre of Chelsea's attack.

On a chilly night, Conte wore a coat and a blue baseball cap, but, typically, with his men 2-0 and looked in complete control, he still did not look relaxed.

He did seem a bit more chilled, though, in the 55th when Cesar Azpilicueta scored his first ever Champions League goal.

It was an all-Spanish affair, with Fabregas picking out his run with a super ball using the outside of his right boot and the defender glanced home powerfully and ran to celebrate with countryman Morata, who was warming up on the touchline.

In the 58th minute there was a big cheer when Eden Hazard continued his comeback by coming on for Pedro, having returned to action for the Blues, after an ankle problem, for 12 minutes of the 2-1 win at Leicester on Saturday.

Zappacosta had a great chance to claim his second in the 64th minute but this time screwed his shot, a half-volley, well wide. On a party night at the Bridge, no-one was too bothered.

Willian, who was buzzing all match, was unlucky soon after smashing a shot against the bar. Substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko was more fortunate, slotting in after a terrible mix-up in the Qarabag defence in the 72nd minute.

CHELSEA (3-4-3): Coutois; Azpilicueta (Rudiger 75), Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Kante (Bakayoko 63), Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Bathsuayi, Pedro (Hazard 58). Subs: Caballero, Morata, Moses, Luiz.

QARABAG (4-1-4-1): Sehic; Medvedev, Huseynv, Sadygov (Madatov 70), Rzezniczak; Garayev (Diniyev 70); Henrique (Elyounoussi 77), Michel, Almeida, Guerrier; Ndlovu. Subs: Kanibolotskiy, Amirguiliyev, Ismayilov, Yunuszada,

REFEREE: Tasos Sidiropoulos (Greece).

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