Chelsea edge Glory in star-studded friendly
Chelsea proved too strong for Perth Glory in their highly-anticipated showdown at Optus Stadium on Monday evening, running out 1-0 winners.
Spanish forward Pedro clinched the first goal of the Maurizio Sarri era as the Italian took up his place in the Chelsea dugout for the first time.
And the Italian would have been pleased with his side’s display in Western Australia after glimpses of Sarri’s expansive possession football came into fruition.
Pedro’s fourth minute volley set the tone early on as Sarri’s side retained possession with as midfield pioneers Cesc Fabregas and new signing Jorginho stroking the ball around with ease.
Having supplied a deadly assist for the Spaniard’s opener, 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi was a real standout for the Blues and caused the Glory defence no shortage of headaches with his pace and trickery up until his half-time withdrawal.
Hudson-Odoi’s display captured a dominant opening 45 minutes for the Londoners, whose clever movement off the ball and patience with the ball had Glory chasing shadows at times.
A combination of strong Chelsea pressing and errant passing saw Tony Popovic’s side struggle to impose themselves against the Premier League giants, and ensured goalkeeper Liam Reddy endured a busy night.
Reddy denied Pedro, Ross Barkley and Tammy Abraham during the second half as the Glory held on, while there were Perth debuts for Brendon Santalab and Jason Davidson.
Popovic will be impressed with his side’s rally late in the day: Glory caught a tiring Chelsea side on their heels, and Santalab came close to restoring parity with two headers from corners and a fiercely struck shot from distance.
That will be one of several positives the new Glory boss will takes positives from a dogged Perth display against the Blues, despite coming up short in the end.
Perth Glory XI: Liam Reddy; Dino Djulbic, Shane Lowry, Alex Grant; Ivan Franjic, Brandon Wilson, Neil Kilkenny, Scott Neville; Jacob Italiano, Fabio Ferreira, Andy Keogh
Chelsea XI: Marcin Bulka; Davide Zappacosta, David Luiz, Ethan Ampadu, Marcos Alonso; Callum Hudson-Odoi, Cesc Fabregas, Jorginho, Ross Barkley, Pedro, Alvaro Morata
STORY OF THE MATCH
4’ PEDRO OPENS THE SCORING: A lovely shimmy from Callum Hudson-Odoi leaves Scott Neville for dead on the left flank and lays a perfect cross on a plate for Pedro, who confidently steers the ball past Reddy on the volley from close range.
25’ BARKLEY CHANCE: Cesc Fabregas drifts a classic diagonal ball into the path of Ross Barkley but Liam Reddy is off his line quickly to parry the Chelsea midfielder’s effort.
27’ GOOD DEFENDING FROM LOWRY: Barkley drives forward and slips Alvaro Morata through on goal but Shane Lowry shows great recovery pace to deter the Spaniard.
29’ NEVILLE GETS IN THE WAY: More good defending from Perth as Neville deflects Cesc Fabregas’ shot inside the box out for a corner, after some unselfish work from Hudson-Odoi.
32’ PEDRO NEARLY PUNISHES PERTH: Glory turn the ball over in their own half, but Pedro slashes his effort wide after a nice cutback from Davide Zappacosta.
36’ LUIZ IN THE BOOK: David Luiz is brandished a yellow card after a late challenge on Fabio Ferreira.
37’ BETTER FROM GLORY: A rare foray forward for Glory sees Ivan Franjic whip an attractive ball toward the back post but Ferreira is one step behind and fails to get anything on it.
44’ HUDSON-ODOI FLIES FORWARD: Optus Stadium is lit up again by the Chelsea attacker, who collects a loose ball deep inside his own half and strides into the Glory half. Unfortunately, the final ball narrowly evades Pedro, who is beaten to the ball by Reddy.
51’ BARKLEY HITS THE POST: A lapse in possession from the otherwise solid Shane Lowry allows Barkley to advance forward and unleash a shot that bounces back off the foot of the post.
56’ FERREIRA HAS A CRACK: Glory’s winger pushes forward from the right and cuts back inside but the shot with his weaker left foot is tame and easily gathered by Marcin Bulka.
60’ LIAM’S REDDY: The Glory keeper makes a solid stop from Barkley at the near post after a gliding run from the Chelsea midfielder.
64’ ABRAHAM GOES CLOSE: After arriving into the fray as a second half substitute for Morata, Chelsea’s rangy marksman is first denied by Reddy and watches a curled effort skip off the post seconds later.
67’ PEDRO DENIED: The Spaniard catches the ball flush on the volley and forces another strong stop from Reddy.
73’ BARKLEY PUTS IT WIDE: Another ball falls to Barkley in the box but he flails at the effort under pressure from Neville.
78’ SANTA NEARLY DELIVERS: Brendon Santalab meets Diego Castro’s in-swinging corner with venom but can’t direct the header on target.
85’ SANTA CLOSE AGAIN: This time from a Jake Brimmer delivery, Santalab flicks another header wide.
88’ SANTA IN THE BOOK: An agricultural challenge from Santalab on Pasalic results in a booking for the veteran striker.
90’ CHELSEA NERVES: Chris Harold gets to the byline and clips a ball into the centre, but Charly Musonda is there to clear the danger.
90+3' SANTA GOES CLOSE AGAIN: In the last kick of the game, Santalab rifles a shot from distance that whistles past the Chelsea goal.