It was an electric atmosphere at Fedex Field as Chelsea FC, the champions of England, took on FC Barcelona, the champions of Europe.
It didn’t take long for action on Chelsea’s side as Eden Hazard slotted one in the bottom corner with an assist from Kurt Zouma. Just 10 minutes in, the Pride of London found themselves ahead 1-0.
Chelsea’s starting 11 looked like a roster for a regular season match. The only difference was Diego Costa was paired with Kenedy in the striker position. Barca’s roster was more relaxed, featuring more B-team players with most of their starters on the bench. The fans would see their stars like Luis Suarez and Sergio Busquets start, but others like Gerard Pique, Thomas Vermaelen, and Andres Iniesta were on the bench.
After Hazard’s goal, Barca picked up the pace a bit and earned 2 corners, putting Chelsea Keeper Thibaut Courtois to work. On the offensive, Hazard earned a free kick which was calmly taken and hit the crossbar to a thunderous groan from the fans.
Sandro Ramirez launched a rocket from about 25 yards out which was quickly saved by Courtois. After his long clearance, Diego Costa had a 1-v-1 with their keeper but couldn’t convert as his shot went just wide.
It was a great match as both champions were bringing ferocious offense back and forth. Suarez found a great opportunity in the box but Courtois blocked it with a low dive-right. Barca came again on the offensive after Rakitic caught a ricochet from a Courtois block but it skied into the stands.
Even though Barcelona were using their B-squad, they were still pushing Chelsea’s backline with their offensive pace. The score at the Half was 1-0 Chelsea, but could have very easily been 2-2.
In the 52’ Luis Suarez curled a shot from the center of the box following a corner kick to score. Later in the 66’ Sandro Ramirez slotted one in for Barca to take the lead for the first time 2-1. But Chelsea had a great response at a great cost, when Gary Cahill got a head to a sweet spot kick. The cost came on his way down he caught a knock (possibly a broken nose, it was bleeding) and had to be substituted.
In stoppage time Barca saw their best chance when Iniesta had a sweet touch on a volley that went just wide of the post. After time expired both teams rested and stretched before preparing for the penalty shootout.
-First up was Iniesta who made his shot
-First for Chelsea was Falcao, who also made his attempt in the top corner.
-In the second round Halilovic hit the crossbar for Barca’s first miss.
–Victor Moses took a cheeky shot in one long step to beat Andre Ter Stegen.
With Chelsea up a goal, Pique was next up for Barca and Courtois made a diving save to keep Chelsea in the match 3 goals to 1. Ramires was next up for Chelsea and nailed his attempt.
Sandro Ramirez was up next and fired a rocket past Courtois. But with Chelsea already up, Remy just needed to make his attempt which he nailed home. So Chelsea beat Barcelona with a final score of 3-2 (4-2 in penalty kicks).
With this tournament coming so close to the start of the season, I hope the Blues aren’t stretching themselves too thin with tours and international responsibilities.
Photo: Anna Lira