Ziyech off the mark as Chelsea return to winning ways in UCL


Hakim Ziyech scored his first goal for Chelsea on his full debut to help his side ease to a 4-0 win over Krasnodar in Thursday's (AEDT) Champions League Group E clash.

Frank Lampard's side had drawn their previous three matches, including two outings without scoring, but found the right balance between attack and defence in Russia. 

Callum Hudson-Odoi was gifted his first goal in the competition by a goalkeeping error from Matvey Safonov after Jorginho had earlier missed from the penalty spot for the second time this season. 

Chelsea were given a scare when Yuri Gazinskiy's strike came back off the crossbar, but Timo Werner succeeded where Jorginho failed in converting from 12 yards out. Ziyech got off the mark to secure the result, while substitute Christian Pulisic added a late fourth.

Jorginho had sent Safonov the wrong way with his penalty after Werner was clipped by Kaio in the box, yet the ball ricocheted back off a post. 

However, Chelsea were gifted a goal 23 minutes later as Hudson-Odoi cut inside Igor Smolnikov and fired a weak shot on target that squirmed through Safonov's grasp. 

That goal forced Krasnodar to come out of their shell and they so nearly equalised 10 minutes into the second half, Gazinskiy hitting the bar with a volley. 

Krasnodar were competing at home in UEFA's showpiece competition for the first time and again went close through Marcus Berg's effort, which Edouard Mendy was equal to. 

But an unfortunate penalty decision against Aleksandr Martynovich - Pulisic's shot from point-blank range hitting the skipper's thigh and then his arm - allowed Werner to tuck home from the spot, five minutes after Jorginho had been substituted. 

Chelsea went through the gears and had a third goal via Ziyech's crisp finish, with the fourth arriving in the final minute through Pulisic's shot from a tight angle.

What does it mean? Chelsea hit their stride 

Chelsea had just six attempts on goal in their Group E opener against Sevilla - their fewest in the competition since February 2015 - and had the same number in the Premier League away at Manchester United at the weekend. 

They mustered more in this match in the opening 45 minutes alone (seven) and ended the contest with 15 shots in total - seven of those ending up on target. 

Having avoided going two games without a win to kick off a group stage for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, Lampard's men are in a strong position at the top of the table. 

Hudson-Odoi goal key 

Krasnodar set up in a defensive shape and appeared to have little interest in leaving their own half in the opening 45 minutes, highlighted by having just 22 per cent of possession. 

That plan effectively went out the window when Hudson-Odoi found a way through to become the second Chelsea teenager to score in the competition after Reece James, the visitors going on to score three more in the final 14 minutes against tired opponents. 

Jorginho's blushes spared 

His trademark stuttered run-up previously worked wonders for Jorginho, who scored his first eight attempts from the penalty spot for Chelsea. 

He has since missed two of his last four, though, and Lampard may wonder whether it is time for Werner - who scored five penalties for RB Leipzig last term - to take over duties. 

Key Opta facts

- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight group stages away games in European competition (W6 D2), keeping a clean sheet in five of those matches.
- Their 4-0 victory over Krasnodar is their biggest Champions League victory since beating Qarabag by the same scoreline in November 2017.
- The Blues have kept three clean sheets in a row in all competitions for the first time under Lampard.
- Kai Havertz has been involved in seven goals in his last seven games in European competition (4 goals, 3 assists), with his assist against Krasnodar his first goal involvement in the Champions League (10th appearance).
- All eight of Werner's Champions League goals have come away from home – he is the leading scorer in the competition to have only found the net on the road.

What's next? 

Chelsea return to Premier League action with a trip to Burnley on Saturday, the same day that Krasnodar travel to Akhmat Grozny in the Russian Premier League. 

Source Omnisport