Chelsea Defeat Inter Milan in Penalties at 2018 ICC; Pedro Scores Early Goal

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2018

NICE, FRANCE - JULY 28: Willy Caballero of Chelsea saves a penalty from Milan Skriniar of FC Internazionale during the International Champions Cup 2018 match between Chelsea and FC Internazionale at Allianz Riviera Stadium on July 28, 2018 in Nice, France. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/International Champions Cup/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/International Champions Cup/Getty Images

Chelsea beat Inter Milan 5-4 on penalties in the International Champions Cup on Saturday after they played out a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Riviera in Nice, France.

Pedro celebrated his 31st birthday by opening the scoring in the eighth minute, tapping home a rebound after some good work by Alvaro Morata.

Roberto Gagliardini equalised just three minutes after the break when he was slipped in by Mauro Icardi, prompting a penalty shootout at the end of 90 minutes to separate the teams.

Substitute goalkeeper Willy Caballero denied Milan Skriniar, who was the only one of 10 takers to fail to convert their spot-kick.


Inspired Morata Can Thrive Under Sarri

While Morata's tally of 15 goals in all competitions wasn't a bad total for his first season in England—particularly as many of his team-mates had underwhelming campaigns—it didn't do a great deal to inspire, either, and the Spaniard missing one-on-one chances became a familiar sight at Stamford Bridge.

Amid links away from the club this summer, it seemed his time in the Premier League may have been a short one, but during his spell on the pitch on Saturday, it seemed new manager Maurizio Sarri had breathed new life into the striker.

He was perhaps unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet when he headed home Cesc Fabregas' cross after six minutes, but his effort was ruled out by a marginal offside call.

ESPN FC's Liam Twomey praised his early contributions:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

Chelsea are moving the ball with speed & ambition. Morata's linking the play well, maybe unlucky to have a header ruled out for offside #cfc

Two minutes later, Chelsea were able to successfully convert their early pressure into a breakthrough. Morata played a key role, showing tenacity and skill to win possession from Danilo D'Ambrosio and turn another defender before his shot from a tight angle was palmed straight to Pedro by Samir Handanovic:

International Champions Cup @IntChampionsCup

Here are the half-time highlights from Nice, as Chelsea lead Inter 1-0 in the International Champions Cup, presented by @Heineken_US You can watch the match live on @espn News or @ESPNDeportes #ICC2018 #ChampionsMeetHere https://t.co/88cSStyfNP

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

Pedro showing Sarri that he should start with a 100% of the goals in pre-season, hard to exagerrate enough how good Morata was there #CFC #ICC2018

ESPN FC's Mark Worrall was impressed: 

Mark Worrall @gate17marco

Toss up at the moment in respect of what's most impressive. Morata or Chelsea's yellow kit?

He later showed more good footwork to escape the attention of his marker before driving toward goal and picking out Pedro with a neat pass. Had his team-mate been able to return the favour, he would have had a good chance to score.

BeIN Sports' Matteo Bonetti believes he can be a good fit under Sarri:

Matteo Bonetti @TheCalcioGuy

On paper, Morata has all the characteristics to work in this new system. He’s technical, a decent passer, quick and likes to interchange up front. The biggest question is if Sarri will be able to instill back the confidence

It's still early days in Sarri's reign, but Morata held the ball up well and displayed hunger, intensity and technical ability, all of which will serve him well next season if he remains at the club.


Callum Hudson-Odoi Makes Case for 1st-Team Play With Strong Showing

After an impressive performance in Chelsea's prior friendly against Perth Glory, CallumHudson-Odoi put in another strong showing that could put him in the frame for a role with the first team this season.

The 17-year-old has made just four senior appearances for the Blues, but he looked comfortable and sharp against Inter.

Operating from the left, he offered an outlet and a pacey attacking threat who looked to test Handanovic and terrorise defenders:

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

Hudson-Odoi showing that he's a nightmare to defend 1v1... that's whether you are a Champions League full back or youth league FB. #CFC #ICC2018

Chelsea FC @ChelseaFC

Brilliant footwork from Hudson-Odoi down the left, beating his man and clipping a cross to the far post. Similar to how he created Pedro's goal in Perth. This time he gets a corner, but Inter deal with it easily. 1-1 [77'] #CFCinNice

The youngster played 83 minutes—only Jorginho was given more time on the pitch—and was praised by Worrall when he was eventually taken off for Lucas Piazon:

Mark Worrall @gate17marco

CHO superb once again.

If he can continue to impress during pre-season and is not sent out on loan, he'll surely add to his four Chelsea appearances in the forthcoming campaign.


Tiemoue Bakayoko Continues to Struggle in Chelsea Midfield

Like Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko did not have the most convincing debut season at Chelsea last year.

Unlike the Spaniard on Saturday, Bakayoko's struggles continued unabated with another evening to forget.

Having come on at half-time, the much-maligned midfielder carelessly gave away possession in midfield just minutes into the second half, leading to Gagliardini's equaliser.

International Champions Cup @IntChampionsCup

Here are the highlights from the second-half of @ChelseaFC against @Inter #CFC eventually won the match on penalties, 5-4 You can watch the #ICC2018 on @espn and @ESPNDeportes in the United States #ChampionsMeetHere https://t.co/HAvGkdpDFn

Caballero was also at fault as he should have done better with the shot, but the Frenchman failed to recover from his early mistake and made a number of poor passes during his time on the pitch.

Bonetti was unimpressed:

Matteo Bonetti @TheCalcioGuy

Bakayoko to this system is like chicken on top of pasta. No. Just no.

Indeed, he perhaps lacks the technical ability to operate in Sarri's slick, high-tempo system, so his ability to contribute positive play in the middle may be even more diminished than it was last year.

Sarri is still in the early days of his Chelsea tenure and more time on the training ground should breed some results, but Bakayoko's showing here offered little encouragement.