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Absolute Chelsea

Chelsea 1-1 FC Salzburg: Graham Potter denied first win despite Raheem Sterling opener

Sam Collins

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Chelsea 1-1 FC Salzburg: Graham Potter denied first win despite Raheem Sterling opener

Raheem Sterling's goal was not enough to be the difference for Chelsea as Graham Potter drew his first game 1-1 as head coach against FC Salzburg in the Champions League.

It was a goalless first-half at Stamford Bridge, while Chelsea came close to scoring they had little to show for their large dominance of possession.

As the second-half started it took the Blues just three minutes to find the opening goal, a Sterling strike from a Mount delivery gave the hosts a huge boost.

However, the were pegged back in the 75th minute when Noah Okafor saw his strike beat Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The west London side searched for a late winner but they had no success and were held to a draw in Potter's opening game.

Graham Potter instructing from the side-lines. (Alamy)
Graham Potter instructing from the side-lines. (Alamy)

In Potter's first game in charge he decided to make three changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Dinamo Zagreb in last week's Champions League match.

Ben Chilwell, Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana all missed out as Marc Cucurella, Jorginho and Thiago Silva all came into the team. It was an interesting formation choice, Cucurella slotted in to the back three and Sterling played in a similar role to Reece James.

Before things kicked-off at Stamford Bridge there was a minutes silence as a mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth II.

A banner at Stamford Bridge paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
A banner at Stamford Bridge paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

A couple of moments later and the game got underway, the hosts established some early dominance, Kai Havertz came close to opening the scoring but his deflected header was directed wide.

While the Blues were easily in control, Salzburg held firm and it was a struggle for Chelsea to break them down and create opportunities.

In the 21st minute, there was a minute's applause for Thomas Tuchel to celebrate the winning of the Champions League against Manchester City in 2021.

The west London side came close to getting the lead as the first half drew on, Cucurella's deflected cross fell into the path of Mount who fired an effort just wide of the post.

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Straight away the visitors came back at the Blues, Kepa was forced into a good save which he pushed behind for a corner after a curling effort from Benjamin Sesko nearly crept in.

Just before half-time Mateo Kovacic's header hit the hand of Bernardo, but there was little the defender can do as his arm was in a natural position.

Following this the whistle blew for the break and the score-line had not changed.

As the players set out for the second 45 they knew an improvement was required and it did not take the Blues long to find the difference.

Mount broke down the right hand-side and his cross fell to the back-post where Sterling was waiting.

He found himself in a big amount of space and cut back onto his right foot and bent an effort past Phillip Kohn.

Raheem Sterling celebrating his goal against FC Salzburg.
Raheem Sterling celebrating his goal against FC Salzburg.

The Blues continued to push and try to find a second but couldn't make their dominance count.

In the 66th minute Potter looked to his bench, both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Armando Broja came on to replace Havertz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The warning signs began to fire for Chelsea, Noah Okafor had a flicked header comfortably saved by Kepa but when he got a chance moments later he would not be so wasteful.

Breaking away down the wing, a ball from the right-hand side found Okafor who's deflected strike rolled past the on-looking Spaniard. The goal gave the Blues a wake-up call, they nearly re-established the lead from a smart free-kick routine that saw James fire over the bar.

Reece James in Champions League action against FC Salzburg
Reece James in Champions League action against FC Salzburg

In search of a goal, more substitutions were made in the 81st minute, both Conor Gallagher and Hakim Ziyech were brought on.

A few moments later Christian Pulisic was introduced and the Blues were chasing a last-gasp winner.

It did not arrive though, both Broja and Ziyech had opportunities but failed to convert.

The Blues are now in a very tough position, picking up just a point from their first two Champions League games, their game against AC Milan becomes a must win.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Chelsea, Red Bull Salzburg, Champions League, Football

Sam Collins
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