Europa League - Quarter-Final - 1st Leg
Slavia Prague0Chelsea1

Slavia Prague 0-1 Chelsea: Maurizio Sarri pleased with how Blues 'suffered'

Marcos Alonso
Marcos Alonso was one of seven Chelsea changes from their Premier League victory over West Ham

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri said he was pleased with how his side "suffered" before beating Slavia Prague in their Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Marcos Alonso's late goal secured a 1-0 win from a difficult match in Prague.

Sarri said his side have improved from earlier in the season, when they would "immediately concede" in difficult moments.

"In the past we were not able to suffer in the difficult moments of a match," said the Italian.

"Now we are able to stay in trouble and suffer without conceding."

An under-strength Chelsea struggled to find any rhythm for large spells, but grew into the game after Eden Hazard was introduced off the bench just before the hour mark.

Alonso timed his run perfectly to meet Willian's right-wing cross with a firm header four minutes from time at the Eden Arena.

The second leg at Stamford Bridge takes place on 18 April.

Late goal papers over performance

Chelsea return home with a lead, but this was definitely not a vintage European performance from the 2013 Europa League winners.

They were sloppy in possession from the first whistle as Sarri made seven changes from Monday's dominant victory over West Ham in the Premier League.

Willian hit the crossbar with a fierce shot in the first half, but it took until the 59th minute for Antonio Rudiger to register their first shot on target, moments after Hazard came on.

The Belgian was influential as Chelsea played with more intensity and posed more of a threat, while Willian shot narrowly wide after a neat one-two with Olivier Giroud.

Left-back Alonso had a poor game by his high standards, but popped up with a late run into the area to stun the home crowd.

Chelsea have never lost a European knockout tie having won the first leg away from home, and they travel to Premier League leaders Liverpool on Sunday hoping to make it five consecutive wins in all competitions.

Slavia can pose a threat at the Bridge

Czech league leaders Slavia have scored 10 goals in the knockout stages, and showed enough quality against Chelsea to suggest this tie is not over.

Captain Simon Deli almost handed the hosts an early lead when he headed Miroslav Stoch's free-kick inches wide at the back post.

Former Blues midfielder Stoch was bright throughout as he pulled the strings for Slavia, who had more shots in total and more on target as they played with an intensity that Chelsea struggled to cope with in the early exchanges.

They almost snatched a goal moments before Alonso's winner when Ibrahim Benjamin Traore produced a fierce shot at goal, but Kepa Arrizabalaga leapt to his right to save well.

Jindrich Trpisovsky's side forced Chelsea into mistakes and they will draw confidence from their impressive performances on the road against Genk and Sevilla in the previous rounds.

Man of the match - Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

Antonio Rudiger
Antonio Rudiger made more passes than any other Chelsea player (81) and was impressive as they kept an eighth clean sheet in this seasons's Europa League

English dominance at the back - the stats

  • Slavia Prague remain without a win against English sides in European competition since a 2-1 victory against Leeds United in the quarter finals of the 1999-2000 Uefa Cup (P8 W0 D2 L6 since).
  • Chelsea have lost only one of their past 15 European games (W11 D3 L1) and are unbeaten since a 3-0 defeat in the last 16 of the Champions League against Barcelona last season.
  • No side has kept more clean sheets in the Europa League this season than Chelsea (8 - level with Arsenal).
  • Chelsea had two shots on target in the match - the fewest they have managed in a Europa League game this season.
  • Since his Chelsea debut in September 2016, Chelsea's Marcos Alonso has scored more goals in all competitions than any other defender (17).
  • Willian has been directly involved in seven goals in his past six Europa League games for Chelsea (2 goals, 5 assists).

Line-ups

Slavia Prague

  • 1Kolar
  • 5CoufalBooked at 83mins
  • 13Ngadeu-Ngadjui
  • 19Deli
  • 18Boril
  • 23Sevcik
  • 33Kral
  • 27Traore
  • 17StochSubstituted forZmrhalat 64'minutes
  • 28MasopustSubstituted forHusbauerat 74'minutes
  • 9OlayinkaSubstituted forVan Burenat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Zmrhal
  • 10Husbauer
  • 14Van Buren
  • 15Kudela
  • 21Skoda
  • 25Frydrych
  • 31Kovar

Chelsea

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 28Azpilicueta
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 27Christensen
  • 3Alonso
  • 17KovacicSubstituted forKantéat 68'minutes
  • 5Jorginho
  • 8BarkleySubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 75'minutes
  • 11PedroSubstituted forE Hazardat 59'minutes
  • 18Giroud
  • 22Willian

Substitutes

  • 7Kanté
  • 9Higuaín
  • 10E Hazard
  • 12Loftus-Cheek
  • 13Caballero
  • 21Zappacosta
  • 30David Luiz
Referee:
Felix Zwayer

Match Stats

Home TeamSlavia PragueAway TeamChelsea
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home9
Away8
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home16
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Slavia Prague 0, Chelsea 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Slavia Prague 0, Chelsea 1.

Foul by Willian (Chelsea).

Ibrahim Benjanim Traore (Slavia Prague) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Slavia Prague. Ondrej Kolar tries a through ball, but Mick Van Buren is caught offside.

Corner, Slavia Prague. Conceded by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

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

Foul by Ibrahim Benjanim Traore (Slavia Prague).

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Josef Husbauer (Slavia Prague).

Corner, Slavia Prague. Conceded by Jorginho.

Goal!

Goal! Slavia Prague 0, Chelsea 1. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Willian with a cross.

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

Foul by Jan Boril (Slavia Prague).

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

Foul by Mick Van Buren (Slavia Prague).

Booking

Vladimir Coufal (Slavia Prague) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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

Foul by Vladimir Coufal (Slavia Prague).

Substitution

Substitution, Slavia Prague. Mick Van Buren replaces Peter Olayinka.

Attempt saved. Jan Boril (Slavia Prague) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Offside, Chelsea. N'Golo Kanté tries a through ball, but Olivier Giroud is caught offside.

Attempt missed. N'Golo Kanté (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Olivier Giroud with a headed pass.

Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Dangerous play by Simon Deli (Slavia Prague).

Substitution

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

Substitution

Substitution, Slavia Prague. Josef Husbauer replaces Lukas Masopust.

Attempt missed. Simon Deli (Slavia Prague) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Vladimir Coufal (Slavia Prague) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Jan Boril (Slavia Prague) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jaromir Zmrhal with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Slavia Prague. Conceded by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Corner, Slavia Prague. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

Corner, Slavia Prague. Conceded by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Attempt saved. Ibrahim Benjanim Traore (Slavia Prague) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Lukas Masopust.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. N'Golo Kanté replaces Mateo Kovacic.

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

Foul by Petr Sevcik (Slavia Prague).

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Alex Kral (Slavia Prague).

Foul by Ross Barkley (Chelsea).

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Leverkusen6411169713
2Zürich631276110
3AEK Larnaca6123612-65
4Ludogorets604257-24

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1RB Salzburg66001761118
2Celtic630368-29
3RB Leipzig62139817
4Rosenborg6015414-101

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Zenit St Petersburg632165111
2Slavia Prague631243110
3Bordeaux62136607
4FC Copenhagen612335-25

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dinamo Zagreb6420113814
2Fenerbahçe62227708
3Spartak Trnava621347-37
4Anderlecht603327-53

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal65101221016
2Sporting64111331013
3Vorskla Poltava6105413-93
4FK Qarabag6105213-113

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Betis633072512
2Olympiakos6312116510
3AC Milan6312129310
4F91 Dudelange6015316-131

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal6240125710
2Rapid Vienna631269-310
3Rangers61328806
4Spartak Moscow6123812-45

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Frankfurt66001751218
2Lazio6303911-29
3Apollon Limassol6213101007
4Marseille6015616-101

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1KRC Genk6321148611
2Malmö FF62317619
3Besiktas6213911-27
4Sarpsborg 086123813-55

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla64021861212
2FK Krasnodar640288012
3Standard Liege631279-210
4Akhisarspor6015414-101

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dynamo Kiev6321107311
2Rennes630378-19
3FC Astana62227708
4FK Jablonec612368-25

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea6510123916
2BATE Borisov63039909
3MOL Vidi621357-27
4PAOK Salonika6105512-73
View full Europa League tables

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