Champions League - Group H
ChelseaChelsea1Zenit St PetersburgZenit St Petersburg0

Chelsea 1-0 Zenit: Romelu Lukaku gives Blues win in Champions League

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Lukaku's header was his first ever goal for Chelsea in the Champions League
Lukaku's header was his first ever goal for Chelsea in the Champions League

Chelsea opened their defence of the Champions League with a victory as Romelu Lukaku finally pierced Zenit St Petersburg's stubborn resistance at Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku, a £97.5m summer signing from Inter Milan, has already demonstrated his goal threat in the Premier League and was on the mark again with his first goal for Chelsea in the competition they won for the second time against Manchester City in June.

Chelsea were made to work hard as Zenit dug in but manager Thomas Tuchel's side stepped up the pace after the interval, Lukaku breaking the deadlock when he headed in at the far post from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross in the 69th minute.

The holders deserved the victory but Zenit missed a glorious chance to snatch a point when substitute Artem Dzyuba slid wide from six yards as he tried to turn in Sardar Azmoun's cross late on.

Chelsea made to work for win

Lukaku 'brings the belief' to Chelsea - Tuchel

Chelsea's victory was not a surprise given their status as Champions League holders and their impressive start to the season but this showed they are more than willing to do the dirty work to get the job done when required.

And it was Lukaku, the talisman, who showed once again what a difference he will make to Chelsea by providing the cutting edge they often lacked last season, even though they won Europe's elite competition in Porto.

Lukaku's chances were limited as Zenit defended well and with real resilience but he pounced on the first opportunity he was given to score with a towering header.

Chelsea struggled to make any impression in the first half but it was clear Tuchel had ordered his players to move through the gears and they were much more forceful after the break.

If Lukaku is the main man in attack, it was defender Antonio Rudiger who set the tone at both ends to lift the Chelsea fans inside Stamford Bridge.

Rudiger lifted the noise levels with a surging run from inside his own half just after the re-start which ended with a shot that flashed just wide. He then made a vital challenge at the other end as Zenit's Iranian forward Azmoun threatened to give the visitors a shock lead, celebrating his interception with a fist pump to the crowd who appreciate the German's uncompromising style.

It was not Chelsea at their most impressive but, as they did against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday, this is now a side that is almost the complete package. They are a side who find a way to win and Tuchel will be delighted to get three points on the board in the Champions League, especially as the other European superpower in Group H, Juventus, started their campaign with an impressive 3-0 win against Malmo in Sweden.

Tuchel will know there is much more to come from a Chelsea side tipped for success at home and abroad this season and he will be more than satisfied to start with three points.

Player of the match

LukakuRomelu Lukaku

with an average of 8.31

Chelsea

  1. Squad number9Player nameLukaku
    Average rating

    8.31

  2. Squad number2Player nameRüdiger
    Average rating

    7.95

  3. Squad number8Player nameKovacic
    Average rating

    7.49

  4. Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta
    Average rating

    7.47

  5. Squad number29Player nameHavertz
    Average rating

    7.46

  6. Squad number4Player nameChristensen
    Average rating

    7.46

  7. Squad number16Player nameMendy
    Average rating

    7.44

  8. Squad number5Player nameJorginho
    Average rating

    7.11

  9. Squad number24Player nameJames
    Average rating

    7.08

  10. Squad number3Player nameAlonso
    Average rating

    7.03

  11. Squad number6Player nameThiago Silva
    Average rating

    6.59

  12. Squad number21Player nameChilwell
    Average rating

    6.55

  13. Squad number22Player nameZiyech
    Average rating

    6.51

  14. Squad number19Player nameMount
    Average rating

    6.24

  15. Squad number12Player nameLoftus-Cheek
    Average rating

    5.99

Zenit St Petersburg

  1. Squad number3Player nameDouglas Santos
    Average rating

    5.47

  2. Squad number2Player nameChistyakov
    Average rating

    5.42

  3. Squad number44Player nameRakitskiy
    Average rating

    5.42

  4. Squad number10Player nameMalcom
    Average rating

    5.38

  5. Squad number7Player nameAzmoun
    Average rating

    5.34

  6. Squad number5Player nameBarrios
    Average rating

    5.33

  7. Squad number19Player nameSutormin
    Average rating

    5.31

  8. Squad number22Player nameDzyuba
    Average rating

    5.30

  9. Squad number64Player nameKravtsov
    Average rating

    5.28

  10. Squad number8Player nameWendel
    Average rating

    5.25

  11. Squad number11Player nameClaudinho
    Average rating

    5.25

  12. Squad number21Player nameErokhin
    Average rating

    5.19

  13. Squad number1Player nameKritsyuk
    Average rating

    5.12

  14. Squad number14Player nameKuzyaev
    Average rating

    5.12

  15. Squad number4Player nameKrugovoy
    Average rating

    4.94

  16. Squad number17Player nameMostovoy
    Average rating

    4.80

Line-ups

Chelsea

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 16Mendy
  • 28AzpilicuetaBooked at 45minsSubstituted forThiago Silvaat 83'minutes
  • 4Christensen
  • 2Rüdiger
  • 24James
  • 8Kovacic
  • 5Jorginho
  • 3AlonsoSubstituted forChilwellat 83'minutes
  • 19MountSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 90+3'minutes
  • 22ZiyechSubstituted forHavertzat 63'minutes
  • 9Lukaku

Substitutes

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 6Thiago Silva
  • 11Werner
  • 12Loftus-Cheek
  • 14Chalobah
  • 17Saúl
  • 18Barkley
  • 20Hudson-Odoi
  • 21Chilwell
  • 29Havertz
  • 31Sarr
  • 36Bergstrom

Zenit St Petersburg

Formation 5-4-1

  • 1Kritsyuk
  • 19Sutormin
  • 5Barrios
  • 2Chistyakov
  • 44RakitskiyBooked at 62minsSubstituted forKrugovoyat 88'minutes
  • 3dos Santos Justino de Melo
  • 10MalcomSubstituted forDzyubaat 75'minutes
  • 8Valle da SilvaSubstituted forErokhinat 76'minutes
  • 14KuzyaevSubstituted forKravtsovat 82'minutes
  • 11Rodrigues Parisi LeonelSubstituted forMostovoyat 88'minutes
  • 7Azmoun

Substitutes

  • 4Krugovoy
  • 17Mostovoy
  • 21Erokhin
  • 22Dzyuba
  • 41Kerzhakov
  • 64Kravtsov
  • 71Odoevskiy
  • 94Khotulev
Referee:
Bartosz Frankowski
Attendance:
39,252

Match Stats

Home TeamChelseaAway TeamZenit St Petersburg
Possession
Home66%
Away34%
Shots
Home11
Away6
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home9
Away5

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Chelsea 1, Zenit St Petersburg 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, Zenit St Petersburg 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mateo Kovacic.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Douglas Santos.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Reece James (Chelsea).

  6. Post update

    Artem Dzyuba (Zenit St Petersburg) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Mason Mount.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Zenit St Petersburg. Daniil Krugovoy replaces Yaroslav Rakitskiy.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Zenit St Petersburg. Andrey Mostovoy replaces Claudinho.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Ben Chilwell replaces Marcos Alonso.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea. Thiago Silva replaces César Azpilicueta.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Zenit St Petersburg. Kirill Kravtsov replaces Daler Kuzyaev.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Artem Dzyuba (Zenit St Petersburg) left footed shot from very close range is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Sardar Azmoun.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mason Mount.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Mason Mount (Chelsea).

  16. Post update

    Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit St Petersburg) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

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

  18. Post update

    Foul by Daler Kuzyaev (Zenit St Petersburg).

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Zenit St Petersburg. Aleksandr Erokhin replaces Wendel.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Zenit St Petersburg. Artem Dzyuba replaces Malcom.

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