Chelsea were made to struggle heftily for their 2-1 victory against RB Salzburg but their dominant quality paved the way for the fabulous goals they scored.
RB Salzburg may not be a powerful team like AC Milan, however, they had a remarkable 40 games unbeaten home record in all competitions; a stat any of the continent’s top clubs would be proud of.
Yet Graham Potter masterminded an away victory for the Blues despite his inexperience and being a newbie in European football competition.
Chelsea are through to the knockout stage of the Champions League, thanks to the two stunning goals from Kovacic and Havertz.
Mateo Kovacic and Kai Havertz got the two goals for Graham Potter’s Blues which condemned Salzburg to their first home defeat since February 2021.
Chelsea were dominant in the first half as the Blues controlled and entirely brimmed the host with attacking intent.
However, after several attacks from the Blues, Chelsea later seized control of the match, taking the lead when Kovacic dazzlingly swept a loose ball into the top corner from the edge of the box in the 23rd minute of halftime.
The Blues went on to dominate possession but were pegged back early in the 48th minute of the second half when RB Salzburg striker Junior Adamu expertly converted a pinpoint cross from Maximilian Woeber and scored with his right foot.
After Aubameyang, Jorginho, and Christian Pulisic’s strikes in response to give Chelsea a winning goal failed, RB Salzburg coach Matthias Jaissle brought in intriguing striker Benjamin Sesko whose arrival steered up the home crowd further before Kai Havertz briefly silenced them, tilting his stunning finish past the host goalkeeper Kohn through the underside of the bar.
Several attempts from Sesko and Strahinja Pavlovic to share the spoils with the Blues were grounded and with Chelsea not relenting to finish the host off, the Blues retained their 2-1 lead until the end.
Kai Havertz goal for Chelsea vs RB Salzburg 🔥 pic.twitter.com/ZLSjF951Vo— Kyama (@ElijahKyama_) October 25, 2022
Being the mastermind behind Chelsea’s victory on Tuesday, Graham Potter deserves plenty of lauds. When he took over the mantle from Tuchel, Chelsea were struggling for form, especially after losing their Group E opener against Dinamo Zagreb in what contributed into Thomas Tuchel’s final match.
Meanwhile, Potter’s task got a little tougher when the Blues were held to a Stamford Bridge draw against Salzburg on Potter’s Chelsea dugout debut as he was expected to turn things around.
However, at this stage, it’s not gain saying that Todd Boehly made the right choice in bringing the former Brighton coach to rejuvenate Chelsea.
In a post-match interview, Potter admitted that the victory against Salzburg didn’t come handily but it came as a reward for their hard work.
Potter said: “It’s not easy to win here as you can see from the record they have and the quality of the team. We had to play well and I thought we did. To go through with a game to spare is brilliant considering where we started the competition.”
“It’s a top competition. Amazing and fantastic to be involved in, a real test against some fantastic teams and a great experience coming to these venues and experiencing an away match in the Champions League. It’s tough and challenging, but I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Some points to note in Chelsea UCL conquest
From sampling the Champions League tournament for the first time to guiding Chelsea into the knockout stages, and leveling the Blues from the bottom to the top of Group E with three victories and one draw, Potter is no doubt a quick learner.
Graham Potter has become the first Chelsea manager to go unbeaten in their first four Champions League matches after Roberto Di Matteo in 2012.
The Blues are also eerily in Group E; the same they were in back in the 2011/12 season when they won the Champions League trophy. Could this be an omen Chelsea is winning the Champions League this season?
Moreover, it is noteworthy that Chelsea has maintained a 39-game unbeaten streak when scoring first in the Champions League.
Graham Potter will be meeting his former side since his arrival at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea will go on a trip to knock head with Brighton on Saturday, 29th of October.
Venue: The American Express Community Stadium
Kickoff time:15:00 BST.