Maurizio Sarri began life as head coach of Chelsea with a 1-0 win over Australia’s A-league side Perth Glory.
In front of a sell-out crowd of over 55,000 for the first ever football game at the Optus Stadium, 19 Blues players saw action over the 90 minutes as the Woodwork was struck three times in the second half and the Perth Glory keeper making series of saves to leave the scores unchanged.
It took Chelsea less than five minutes to score the first goal. The Blues had done some defending beforehand, Ampadu making an important sliding block to prevent a cross, but then Fabregas sprayed the ball wide to Hudson-Odoi. The youngster, operating down the left, sold his marker a smart dummy and crossed in at waist height. Pedro was there to divert the ball in from close range.
Pedro flashed wide and Zappacosta warmed the hands of Liam Reddy in the Perth goal with a low shot before Hudson-Odoi broke from his own half but slightly over-hit his ball aimed at putting Pedro through on goal, as the first half ended.
Sarri made three subs for the start of the second half, with Emerson, Mario Pasalic and Tiemoue Bakayoko coming on, but it was one of those who had played the first half, Barkley, now wide on the left of the attack, who hit the post six minutes after the restart.
Perth then enjoyed their best spell in attack before Fabregas hit the outside of the same post that had taken the Barkley shot.
Tammy Abraham and Tomas Kalas came on, and the first of those two burst onto a ball and had a firm shot saved by the keeper, before moments later Pasalic, a player Sarri will have known already from his loan at AC Milan, made it woodwork strike no.3 – the same right-hand upright again.
The home side had some chances towards the end, the pick a header from a corner nodded wide by Brendon Santalab who later shot wide when well-placed, and another when a cross into the goalmouth was headed away by Ola Aina, maintaining a clean sheet for Bulka on his first appearance with the seniors.
Chelsea’s next game is against a familiar opposition for Sarri – Inter Milan on Saturday.