Bayern Munich canter to win over Chelsea in ICC opener

SINGAPORE: It was a blitzkrieg of sorts from German champions Bayern Munich in their opening International Champions Cup match against English Premier League winners Chelsea at the Singapore Sports Hub on Tuesday evening (Jul 25).

Bayern Munich’s Rafinha (C) celebrates his goal during the International Champions Cup football match between Chelsea and Bayern Munich in Singapore on July 25, 2017. (Photo: AFP / ROSLAN RAHMAN)

Most of the fans who flocked to catch the pre-season encounter barely had time to settle down when Rafinha popped up on the right of Chelsea’s penalty box and let fly a speculative shot that ended up in the net. Thibaut Courtois was left bemused.

Just 6 minutes in, it was 1-0 Bayern.

It took another 6 minutes for them to double their lead, as French winger Franck Ribery showcased his wing wizardry to stand up a cross from the byline, inviting Thomas Muller to power home and make it 2-0.

New loan signing from Real Madrid James Rodriguez then had the opportunity to compound Chelsea’s misery when he blazed over when open in the box. Marcos Alonso, standing outside the box, stood relieved.

But it was not long before Bayern stretched their lead. Muller, on a counter, let fly from outside the box and the ball somehow evaded Courtois’ outstretched arm and nestled in the corner of the net. 3-0. And it wasn’t even 30 minutes on the clock.

New signing Corentin Tolisso and much-maligned Portuguese youngster Renato Sanches patrolled the centre of the pitch with authority, proving more than a match for 2017 PFA of the Year N’Golo Kante and his midfield partners.

To their credit, Chelsea battled back, slowly but surely, through the lively Willian and the constantly probing Cesc Fabregas.

And at the stroke of half-time, left wingback Alonso found himself alone in the box when a cross was whipped in, and he duly dispatched it past Tom Starke in goal.

Robert Lewandowski, Bayern’s top hitman, departed after the break, to be replaced by the speedy Kingsley Coman and Muller took over at the tip of the German club’s offence.

But it was Colombian international James who continued to threaten, aided by the wily running of Ribery. He powered a header over the bar after a late run into the box, and also had another shot saved.

A series of substitutions helped change the flow of the game, as Chelsea introduced new signing Alvaro Morata and David Luiz on 62 minutes. Bayern, meanwhile, introduced their young talents Felix Gotze, Nicklas Dorsch, Manuel Wintzheimer and Milos Pantovic as well as goalkeeper Christian Fruchtl.

And it was the Blues that had the better end to the game, with Morata proving a handful for Bayern captain Mats Hummels and fellow centreback Javi Martinez. It was his strike partner, Michy Batshuayi, who netted the side’s second goal though, profiting from close range after a corner was not cleared on the 85th minute, to the delight of the Blues fans among the 48,522 in attendance.

However, the German champs showed their nous to see the match out in a run-out that should benefit both clubs when the season kicks off next month.

Source CNA/ AFP

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