Jul 19, 2012

Seattle Sounders 2 Chelsea 4

Eden Hazard
UP AND RUNNING ... Eden Hazard

EDEN HAZARD and Marko Marin netted on their debuts as Roberto Di Matteo's new-look Chelsea won in Seattle.

Belgian international Hazard showed just why the Blues paid £32million to sign him from Lille with an impressive first appearance in the playmaker’s role.

Winger Marin also weighed in with a goal following his £7m move from Werder Bremen, while young striker Romelu Lukaku bagged a double.

Di Matteo is ringing the changes after relying on the Chelsea old guard to win the Champions League and FA Cup last season.

And he could not fail to be impressed by his diminutive new signings — even if some of his team’s defending in their opening pre-season game left a lot to be desired.

The Italian said: “It’s a great start for them scoring in their first official game for the club and it was also good to see them striking up such an early understanding with their new team-mates.
Marko Marin is congratulated by Yossi Benayoun
NICE START ... Marko Marin is congratulated by Yossi Benayoun

“Hazard can have a real impact in the Premier League. He has great ability and quality and we’re seeing that every day in training.

“I’m really pleased with tonight’s game. We’ve got everything we were looking for from it.

“It was a good workout with good energy, we’ve integrated some new players and we’ve also seen some of the young talent that will be the future of this club.”

Even with just two of their starting line-up from the Champions League final on show, it looked as though this clash with MLS side Seattle was going to be ridiculously easy for the Blues.
Romelu Lukaku scored twice
AT THE DOUBLE ... Romelu Lukaku scored twice

They were ahead after only three minutes when Josh McEachran’s pass allowed Lukaku to shrug off Sounders defender Jeff Parke and beat keeper Bryan Meredith inside his near post.

And they doubled their lead in the 11th minute when Hazard’s shot struck John Hurtado and deflected beyond Meredith.

But Chelsea’s lack of fitness soon started to take its toll and Fredy Montero pulled a goal back for Seattle after intercepting McEachran’s ambitious ball across his own area.

The American side could even have been level but for Henrique Hilario’s flying save from Alvaro Fernandez midway through the first half.

With the enthusiastic backing of a 53,309 crowd at the CenturyLink Field, the home team took advantage of Chelsea’s reluctance to get stuck in on a dodgy pitch to snatch a 32nd-minute equaliser.
Frank Lampard signs autographs after the game
CROWD FAVOURITE ... Frank Lampard signs autographs after the game

Once again it was Montero who caused the damage, cutting inside John Obi Mikel’s half-hearted challenge to beat Hilario with a low shot into the far corner.

The Sounders defence, though, was always liable to implode and Chelsea regained the lead in the 40th minute when Marin scored with the help of another deflection off the hapless Parke.

And they confirmed their advantage a minute before the break courtesy of Lukaku, who struck again from Marin’s through-ball.

That was the signal for Di Matteo to make seven changes at half-time, with four more after 63 minutes to give his entire squad a run.

Kevin De Bruyne, also making his Chelsea debut, should have made it 5-2 but shot wide from Frank Lampard’s pass as the goals dried up after the break.

And with John Terry, Fernando Torres , Ashley Cole and Raul Meireles all due to join the squad in the next few days, Di Matteo will believe that things are slowly falling into place.
Chelsea: Hilario (Blackman HT); Chalobah (Hutchinson HT), Ivanovic (Kane 63), Luiz (Cahill HT), Ferreira (Saville 63mins), Mikel (Essien HT), McEachran (Lampard HT), Benayoun (Ramires HT), Hazard (Kakuta 63), Marin (De Bruyne HT), Lukaku (Piazon 63).

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