Saturday, July 22, 2017

Chelsea´s Conte era starts with Vienna defeat

SoccerNews in English Premier League 16 Jul 2016

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Chelsea started the Antonio Conte era with a disappointing 2-0 pre-season friendly defeat at Rapid Vienna on Saturday.

Italian Conte was chosen as the full-time successor to Jose Mourinho, who was sacked in December, with Guus Hiddink having led Chelsea to a 10th-place finish as interim boss during a disappointing Premier League title defence last season.

The former Italy boss, lacking several first-team regulars due to their participation at Euro 2016, witnessed his side make a losing start to his tenure, though, as goals in either half from Joelinton and Tomi Correa saw Rapid celebrate the opening of their new Allianz Stadion in style.

Asmir Begovic had already made a smart save low to his left from Philipp Schobesberger by the time Rapid moved in front.

A well-worked passing move on the edge of the penalty area resulted in Joelinton rounding the Chelsea goalkeeper and converting into the empty goal.

Chelsea upped the tempo as the half progressed and Diego Costa showed quick feet and dragged a left-foot shot wide of the right-hand post, before Steffen Hofmann poked wide of the right-hand post for Rapid at the other end.

The second half had all the trademarks of a pre-season fixture with Chelsea working the ball well enough but not creating many clear-cut chances.

Teenage substitute Ola Aina almost levelled with a fortuitous cross-shot that evaded everyone and hit the right-hand post, but Rapid doubled the lead late on.

Begovic pulled off a smart stop from Stefan Nutz, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Tomi poking in from close range.

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