Europa League - Group L
Chelsea1MOL Vidi0

Chelsea 1-0 Vidi: Alvaro Morata strike proves decisive for Blues

Alvaro Morata
Alvaro Morata's scored only his fifth goal in 32 games to help Chelsea to victory

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says he wants to see Alvaro Morata "cry very often" after his goal saw off Hungarian champions Vidi in the Europa League.

Instead of celebrating, Morata, who has struggled for form, appeared downbeat after scoring the decisive goal to maintain the Blues' 100% start in Group L.

"It's very important for him to score," Sarri said. "He played a very good match. I think Alvaro can restart from this performance.

"If after a goal he wants to cry, I hope to see him cry very often."

Despite dominating both territory and possession, it took the second-half arrival of substitute Eden Hazard to add spark to a Chelsea team frustrated for long periods.

And Morata, who had earlier missed a glorious chance, capitalised on some extra space by sweeping in Willian's flick from a Cesc Fabregas pass. It ended a miserable run for the 25-year-old, who had managed just one goal from nine previous outings this season.

The hosts were unable to add to their lead and had goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to thank for preserving the three points when he turned away Istvan Kovacs' drive late on.

The result ensured the 2013 Europa League winners top the group with six points, having beaten PAOK Salonika in Greece in their opening fixture last month.

Morata's misery subsides

If one player epitomised Chelsea's early frustration in attack it was Morata, whose performance, particularly in the first half, continued in the same vein as against PAOK.

The Spaniard had seven shots in the Blues' first group game without any finding the target and he managed another five against the Hungarians before finally getting on the scoresheet.

And his close-range miss early on, when he horribly miscued a chip over Vidi goalkeeper Tomas Tujvel, smacked of a player shorn of confidence.

Morata has already featured in three Champions League finals, winning two with Real Madrid and scoring in the other when he was on the losing side with Juventus, but goals have dried up for him since his impressive start at Stamford Bridge last term, when he scored seven goals in his first seven games.

And a return of five goals from 32 appearances since the start of 2018 has done little to justify the £60m spent to prise him away from Real Madrid.

Yet with Chelsea's front-line options constrained to Olivier Giroud and Morata, an upturn in the Spain international's form could prove crucial to Sarri this season.

"At the moment we have Alvaro and Giroud but we have to play every three days for a long time, I think, I hope," Sarri added. "And so he's a very important player for us, for our season."

Loftus-Cheek's big night

Having spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, this game represented Ruben Loftus-Cheek's first start for Chelsea since January 2017, when the Blues defeated Brentford in the FA Cup.

Hampered by an early-season injury, the 22-year-old midfielder had been limited to just two substitute appearances, meaning that before kick-off he had managed more minutes for England (61) than the Blues (31) this term.

In that time he has also had to watch fellow Chelsea youngster Mason Mount impress on loan at Championship side Derby County, earning himself a spot in Gareth Southgate's latest England squad.

While Loftus-Cheek's lack of action precluded him from inclusion, he did enough against Vidi to suggest he will be given more opportunities by manager Maurizio Sarri.

His power in possession set Brazilian winger Willian away early on and a slaloming run between three defenders gave Chelsea a valid claim for a first-half penalty when he was brought down by Vidi defender Stopira.

Man of the match - Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)

Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas controlled the game for Chelsea in only his third start of the season, taking more touches than any other player and initiating the move for the winning goal.

'We didn't play well' - what they said:

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri told BT Sport: "For Alvaro Morata, it's very important to score and very important to play well too for the team, like he did in this match.

"I don't think we played well, we have done a good offensive phase and had a lot of ball opportunities but we conceded too much.

"We have to play every three days, it is very difficult and so we have to have a great mentality. There is a risk to arrive at a match without the mental power and energy. I am very happy with my squad.

"It is a very important in this period of the season to get results, it is not easy but I will have to change a lot players for Southampton and it is not easy to prepare the next match tomorrow - a lot of players will be tired."

Chelsea's momentum builds - the stats

  • Chelsea are now unbeaten in 10 games in all competitions this season (W8 D2), since losing their opening fixture against Manchester City in the Community Shield.
  • Willian has been directly involved in five goals in his last six games for Chelsea in European competitions, scoring four and assisting one.
  • Vidi haven't won any of their last seven away Uefa Cup/Europa League matches, drawing one and losing six since winning 1-0 against Real Madrid in the second leg of the 1984-85 UEFA Cup final.
  • Chelsea mustered 27 shots in the game, last attempting more in a game in all competitions in May 2017 against Sunderland in the Premier League (28).
  • Chelsea have never lost a single home European match (excluding qualifiers) in a competition other than the Champions League (P36 W29 D7 L0).
  • Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata finally scored his first Europa League goal of the season with his 14th attempt and only his second on target.

What's next?

Chelsea travel to Southampton on Sunday (14:15 BST) in the Premier League. They resume Europa League duties when they host Bate Borisov on Thursday, 25 October (20:00 BST).

Line-ups

Chelsea

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 21Zappacosta
  • 24Cahill
  • 27Christensen
  • 33Emerson
  • 12Loftus-CheekSubstituted forBarkleyat 66'minutes
  • 4Fàbregas
  • 17Kovacic
  • 11PedroSubstituted forE Hazardat 54'minutes
  • 29MorataBooked at 66mins
  • 22WillianSubstituted forMosesat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Alonso
  • 7Kanté
  • 8Barkley
  • 10E Hazard
  • 13Caballero
  • 15Moses
  • 44Ampadu

MOL Vidi

  • 12Tujvel
  • 5Fiola
  • 23Juhász
  • 3Souza dos Santos
  • 22dos Santos Tavares
  • 11NegoBooked at 14mins
  • 8HadzicSubstituted forPátkaiat 83'minutes
  • 19Nikolov
  • 9HusztiBooked at 44minsSubstituted forKovácsat 77'minutes
  • 77MilanovBooked at 56minsSubstituted forHodzicat 83'minutes
  • 44Scepovic

Substitutes

  • 10Kovács
  • 13Berecz
  • 15Hodzic
  • 17Pátkai
  • 25Tamas
  • 65Hangya
  • 74Kovacsik
Referee:
Miroslav Zelinka
Attendance:
39,925

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamMOL Vidi
Possession
Home76%
Away24%
Shots
Home28
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home18
Away3
Fouls
Home9
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Chelsea 1, MOL Vidi 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, MOL Vidi 0.

Foul by Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea).

Marko Scepovic (MOL Vidi) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Stopira.

Attempt blocked. Ross Barkley (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

Foul by Gary Cahill (Chelsea).

Armin Hodzic (MOL Vidi) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the right. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

Attempt missed. Loic Nego (MOL Vidi) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Máté Pátkai.

Attempt missed. Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.

Emerson (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by István Kovács (MOL Vidi).

Offside, MOL Vidi. István Kovács tries a through ball, but Marko Scepovic is caught offside.

Attempt saved. István Kovács (MOL Vidi) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marko Scepovic.

Substitution

Substitution, MOL Vidi. Máté Pátkai replaces Anel Hadzic.

Substitution

Substitution, MOL Vidi. Armin Hodzic replaces Georgi Milanov.

Foul by Victor Moses (Chelsea).

Stopira (MOL Vidi) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by István Kovács (MOL Vidi).

Substitution

Substitution, MOL Vidi. István Kovács replaces Szabolcs Huszti.

Ross Barkley (Chelsea) hits the bar with a header from very close range. Assisted by Eden Hazard with a cross following a set piece situation.

Emerson (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Attila Fiola (MOL Vidi).

Offside, MOL Vidi. Tomas Tujvel tries a through ball, but Boban Nikolov is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Victor Moses replaces Willian.

Foul by Emerson (Chelsea).

Georgi Milanov (MOL Vidi) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Stopira.

Attempt blocked. Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Paulo Vinicius.

Attempt blocked. Ross Barkley (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

Goal!

Goal! Chelsea 1, MOL Vidi 0. Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) right footed shot from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Willian with a headed pass.

Offside, Chelsea. Cesc Fàbregas tries a through ball, but Willian is caught offside.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Tomas Tujvel.

Attempt saved. Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Willian with a cross.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Paulo Vinicius.

Attempt saved. Ross Barkley (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Ross Barkley replaces Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Leverkusen22007436
2Zürich22002026
3Ludogorets200224-20
4AEK Larnaca200225-30

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1RB Salzburg22006336
2RB Leipzig21015413
3Celtic210123-13
4Rosenborg200214-30

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Zenit St Petersburg21102114
2FC Copenhagen21103214
3Slavia Prague21011103
4Bordeaux200213-20

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dinamo Zagreb22006156
2Fenerbahçe210134-13
3Spartak Trnava210112-13
4Anderlecht200203-30

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal22007256
2Sporting22004136
3Vorskla Poltava200236-30
4FK Qarabag200205-50

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1AC Milan22004136
2Real Betis21103034
3Olympiakos201113-21
4F91 Dudelange200204-40

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers21105324
2Rapid Vienna21013303
3Villarreal20205502
4Spartak Moscow201135-21

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Frankfurt22006246
2Lazio210135-23
3Marseille201134-11
4Apollon Limassol201134-11

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sarpsborg 0821014403
2KRC Genk21013303
3Besiktas21013303
4Malmö FF21012203

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FK Krasnodar22003126
2Sevilla21016333
3Standard Liege210136-33
4Akhisarspor200213-20

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Astana21104224
2Rennes210123-13
3Dynamo Kiev20204402
4FK Jablonec201134-11

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea22002026
2PAOK Salonika21014223
3BATE Borisov210134-13
4MOL Vidi200203-30
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