Chelsea in 6-0 romp
LONDON, England (AP):
Who needs Diego Costa when you have Davide Zappacosta?
On his full Chelsea debut, the wing back announced himself to Stamford Bridge in spectacular fashion with an audacious solo goal eclipsing anything the exiled striker Costa has produced in west London.
It was some way, too, for 2012 champions Chelsea to announce their return to the Champions League after failing to qualify last season. Zappacosta's 30th-minute goal was only the second in a 6-0 rout of Azerbaijani tournament newcomers Qarabag in their opening game in Group C.
The deadline-day signing from Torino started the run outside his own penalty area and surged down the field past two defenders before reaching the edge of the Qarabag penalty area, where he caught goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic off guard with his strike.
The feeble Azerbaijan champions first conceded after five minutes when Pedro Rodriguez bent the ball past Sehic.
Cesar Azpilicueta, playing in a back three, demonstrated his attacking threat when he headed in the third 10 minutes into the second half after being left unmarked to meet Cesc Fabregas' cross. Just like Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko marked his Champions League debut for Chelsea with a goal in the 71st minute after coming off the bench.
Bakayoko turned provider for back-up striker Michy Batshuayi to score his first goal of the season, and the rout was completed when Zappacosta set up Batshuayi for an effort that went in off Maksim Medvedev for an own-goal.
The game at Stamford Bridge provided all the goals in Group C as Roma and Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 in the Italian capital.