Chelsea bounced back from their shock loss to New York Red Bulls to overcome Paris Saint-Germain on penalties in the International Champions Cup (ICC) on Saturday.
The Red Bulls stunned Chelsea 4-2 in the ICC on Wednesday but the Premier League champions recovered to register their first win of the new campaign in Charlotte, with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois the hero.
After Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Victor Moses scored either side of half-time for PSG and Chelsea respectively, Courtois made two saves and struck the winning penalty to triumph 6-5 in the shootout.
PSG had entered the match in North Carolina having scored seven goals in their previous two ICC fixtures and they sounded a further warning of their attacking prowess when Ibrahimovic opened the scoring after 24 minutes.
John Obi Mikel gave up possession on the edge of Chelsea’s penalty area as PSG pressed high and Jean-Kevin Augustin – who had scored three goals in his team’s previous two victories – showed quick feet to fire a shot onto the base of the post, with the ball rebounding to Ibrahimovic to score.
PSG had the better of the opening 45 minutes but Chelsea fought back after half-time, with Moses equalising in the 65th minute with a volley from Cesc Fabregas’ perfect cross.
With these two clubs having clashed in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League over the past two seasons, there was some residual feeling in the match at Bank of America Stadium.
Diego Costa left his mark on PSG defender Serge Aurier in just the first minute, while Ibrahimovic appeared to strike John Terry in the head a couple of minutes before scoring, but lenient refereeing saw neither player carded.
After Chelsea started brighter, PSG began to take control from around the quarter-hour mark and hit the front in the 25th minute with Ibrahimovic reacting well to stab the ball into the net.
Costa hit the post soon after before Lucas Moura, who was lively throughout the first half, forced new Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begović into a fine stop.
Marco Verratti should have doubled the France league champions’ lead in the 36th minute but was unable to get his chip over Begović to dip under the bar, with PSG finishing the half on top – Begović denying Lucas with another finger-tip save just before the break.
Courtois replaced Begović at the break as both teams made a swathe of substitutions and the Belgian gloveman was lucky to avoid conceding in the 50th minute as he spilled a drive from Thiago Motta but was able to regain control of the ball.
As the second half wore on, Chelsea regained the ascendency.
Just after the hour mark, Fabregas took too long with a one-on-one opportunity, allowing Adrien Rabiot to block, while Moses dragged his rebound effort wide.
Lucas then shot just wide of the post before Moses combined with Fabregas to level the match.
With 19 minutes left, Loic Remy forced Salvatore Sirigu into a low save but that was one of the last scoring opportunities of the game as it petered out.
Chelsea went behind in the shootout when Sirigu saved Juan Cuadrado’s spot-kick but Courtois responded immediately to deny Jean-Christophe Bahebeck.
After Chelsea forced sudden-death penalties, Courtois denied Thiago Silva on the second round and then blasted his own spot-kick past Sirigu.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!