Chelsea 1-0 Zenit: Lukaku gets trophy defence off to winning start

The Blues were below par on what was threatening to be a frustrating night until Lukaku nodded in his fourth goal since re-signing from Inter Milan to earn all three points midway through the second half.

A belated UEFA individual awards presentation ceremony before kick-off whipped up a victory parade atmosphere in west London.

Thomas Tuchel received his UEFA manager of the year gong for last term, with Edouard Mendy presented his trophy for goalkeeper of the year.

Jorginho finally got his hands on his player of the season silverware too, as the Blues paid reverence to last term’s Champions League triumph.

UEFA figurehead Aleksander Ceferin was on hand to dole out the pre-match prizes, and an entirely underwhelming first-half proved a true case of after the president’s show.

Chelsea could not convert their general comfort into genuine openings, leaving Stamford Bridge to a man frustrated at the interval.

Try as they might the Blues could not carve open Zenit’s regimented defence.

The visitors ultimately had the most credible half-chance before the break despite minimal possession. Reece James lifted the ball off Claudinho’s toe, however, to ease the danger.

Hakim Ziyech struck Chelsea’s first shot on target shortly after half-time, but it took a mammoth run from Toni Rudiger to lift the crowd.

The Germany defender cantered 70 yards into the Zenit box, before lashing a shot wildly wide. Once the gritty centre-back had found that position, he should truly have hit the target.

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