ICC 2018, Chelsea vs Inter Milan: 5 Talking Points
Score-line: Chelsea (Pedro 8') 1-1 Inter (Roberto Gagliardini 49'); 5-4 on penalties
Chelsea kick-started their International Champions Cup pre-season tournament with a win over Inter Milan at the Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice. Maurizio Sarri named an unchanged starting line-up adopted by Chelsea in the first half of their previous pre-season clash with Perth Glory in Australia and were swiftly off the blocks as soon as the referee waved play on to get the ball rolling on the night.
The Blues dominated right from the start and following a splendid spell that saw Chelsea show quick movement and precise passing, Pedro opened the scoring in the 8th minute marking his 31st birthday with a straightforward finish after Alvaro Morata had the Inter defenders all over the place thanks to the Spaniard's nimble footwork and determination to make things happen.
Chelsea looked comfortable on the ball and dominated possession for the majority of the first forty-five minutes, heading into the break with a deserving lead. However, Tiemoue Bakayoko who came on at the half-time break gave the ball away too easily in midfield and further allowed Mauro Icardi to lay the ball out for Roberto Gagliardini who found the back of the net owing to Willy Caballero's inability to get behind the ball and stop the shot.
Inter kicked-on from their early second-half goal and continued to pressurize Chelsea deep into the second half but the Blues held on for a 1-1 draw at the end of ninety minutes. Milan Skriniar became the unlucky man who had to miss his spot-kick in the penalty shootout as Chelsea held their nerve to convert all their chances from 12 yards out to emerge as 5-4 victors in the end.
Chelsea, who were awarded 2 points for their shootout win, will now face Arsenal on Thursday while Inter will take face Lyon on Saturday with just a point to their name. Without further delay, let's take a closer look at the major talking points from the game:
#1 Chelsea swiftly off their blocks while Inter take time to settle
Chelsea started the game with a lot of hunger and were simply all over their counterparts in the first 15 minutes or so. Maurizio Sarri's men seemed to have adapted well into the new system as they pushed forward in numbers with quick passing and some great movement off the ball to fire on all cylinders very early on.
The players looked sharp from the word go and Chelsea were ahead as early as in the 8th minute when Alvaro Morata's trickery down the left side helped him unleash a shot on goal that was parried away by Samir Handanovic and straight to Pedro who made no mistake to find the back of the net for the opening goal.
The early goal gave Chelsea the upper hand as they continued to dominate Inter in terms of possession as the Nerazzurri struggled to keep up. However, as the game progressed there was some sort of hope offered by Antonio Candreva before Luciano Spalleti's substitutions completely turned the game in his side's favour in the second half.
Inter settled down and looked menacing at a few instances as Chelsea huffed and puffed to the full-time whistle despite their promising start.