Fiji Time: 1:31 AM on Wednesday 20 September

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Chelsea crushes debutants Qarabag

Reuters
Thursday, September 14, 2017

LONDON - Chelsea enjoyed a triumphant return to the Champions League after a year out yesterday, thumping the competition's debutants Qarabag 6-0, including a stunning, if miscued, strike from new signing Davide Zappacosta.

The Italian was joined on the scoresheet by another new Chelsea arrival Frenchman Tiemoue Bakayoko on a satisfying night for manager Antonio Conte after a summer of much-publicised frustration in the transfer market.

"It was a good start for us. To score many goals, to win and to have a clean sheet — I saw a lot of positive things tonight," Conte said.

The Azeri champions were never any match for their English counterparts and it took only five minutes for Pedro to open the scoring with a curling shot from the edge of the area.

The goal was a taste of things to come for the inexperienced Azeris who rarely strayed out of their half.

Deadline-day signing Zappacosta, apparently looking to cross the ball, produced a swirling screamer of a goal from some 35 metres out on the half hour. It was an eye-catching way for the Italian to open his account for the 2012 Champions League winners.

Chelsea ran riot in the second half against the Group C underdogs and equalled their best showing in the Champions League — a 6-0 win against Maribor three years ago.

Defender Cesar Azplicueta knocked in an exquisite pass from Spanish compatriot Cesc Fabregas in the 55th minute.

Bakayoko, a second-half substitute then poked in a parried goal after a corner.

Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi added a goal in the 76th and Chelsea's sixth was an own goal by defender Maksim Medvedev six minutes later.

The Azeris, who have won their domestic championship for the last four years, were given little room and time to produce their best football.








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