Romelu Lukaku had to appear to unblock Chelsea against the rocky Zenit of Saint Petersburg and start the new edition of the Champions League as the previous one ended, winning (1-0).
The Belgian hardly needed a chance for his team to take all three points at Stamford Bridge. César Azpilicueta placed the ball on his head twenty minutes from the end and Lukaku, with a chopped finish, knocked down the resistance of Zenit, That gave a decent picture in London.
Because those of Semak endured the type, not only defending themselves, but also creating dangerous occasions in a game that was lacking, above all, of that. Chelsea, despite its offensive power, did not find spaces easily to overcome the line of four defenders and five midfielders of Zenit.
Lukaku played well with his back to the goal, but the threat ‘blue’ died there, with a Zenit that wanted to run with the speed of Iranian Sardar Azmoun and that allowed themselves to be the first team to shoot at goal. This luxury had to wait until minute 38, a reflection of how bland the match was.
He was encouraged already in the second 45 minutes, with attempts by Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount and even Antonio Rudiger, who in a start from his field was about to score the goal of the day.
But the goal had to wait until Azpilicueta raised his head and centered a precise ball so that Lukaku, above all, rose and sting him out of Stanislav Kritsyuk’s reach.
For the slightest and without much brilliance, Chelsea continued the fireworks that opened the ‘Champions’ season at Stamford Bridge. In addition to the victory, N’golo Kanté, Jorginho, Mendy and Tuchel collected the individual awards from the last Champions League, delivered on the grass by an Aleksander Ceferin who was booed by the Stamford Bridge stands.
With this victory, Chelsea are second in Group H, with the same points as Juventus but with a worse goal difference.