Romelu Lukaku’s goal midway through the second half against Zenit was enough for reigning champions Chelsea to secure a narrow 1-0 win in their Champions League group stage opener.
Chelsea were in control of the game from the start and dominated possession, but they looked toothless in attack during the first half, with zero shots on target and four attempts in total.
The first noteworthy chance for the Blues came 50 minutes in when centre-back Antonio Rudiger’s effort went just wide, while Reece James missed the target too a few minutes later.
Chelsea piled the pressure on Zenit in the second half and finally managed to convert their superiority into a goal with 21 minutes to go when Romelu Lukaku produced a fine header from a Cesar Azpilicueta cross to break the deadlock.
Zenit came close to scoring in the 80th minute when Artem Dzyuba missed a big opportunity to equalise with a strike that went just wide of the right post.
After grabbing all three points, Chelsea top Group H along with Juventus, who comfortably beat Malmo 3-0 in Sweden.