Match report: Chelsea 1 Zenit St Petersburg 0

However, with Zenit still stubbornly refusing to allow us the room to create chances with just under half-an-hour remaining, Tuchel decided to make his first change of the night, with Kai Havertz coming on the replace Ziyech.

We weren’t quite having things all our own way, despite increasingly long spells of possession, as shown when Rudiger made a perfectly-timed challenge in the box to nip the ball of Sardar Azmoun striker’s foot.

Before the clock could tick over into the last 20 minutes, though, we had finally taken the lead we had deserved on the balance of play, and who else could it have been to find the breakthrough but Lukaku? From the moment Azpilicueta clipped one of his trademark diagonal ball towards the back post, the end result never seemed in doubt, as Lukaku’s powerful leap took him above two defenders to head an effort down beyond Kritsyuk and into the bottom corner.

Alonso then tried his luck with a fantastic turn on the edge of the box to make room for a shot, but he dragged his effort wide of the right-hand post. Zenit were trying to fight back, bringing on the imposing figure of Russian international centre-forward Artem Dzyuba and trying for a more direct route upfield, but the striker was guilty of a glaring miss as we entered the final 10 minutes as he slid to meet a good ball across the face of goal, but guided his shot wide from close range.

That prompted Tuchel to introduce Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell from the bench, the latter making his first competitive appearance since last season’s Champions League final, to help us keep things tight at the back and ward off any late counter-attacks for the visitors to snatch a point.

They completed that task in expert style, as we barely allowed Zenit a touch of the ball for the final few minutes of the game, playing safe in possession to see out a winning start to our defence of the Champions League trophy.

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