Chelsea have moved to the top of Group E in the Champions League for the first time after recording their second win over Milan in the space of a week.
Graham Potter opened his Champions League account last week at Stamford Bridge after drawing his first game 1-1 with Red Bull Salzburg, thrashing Milan 3-0. And it was a similar tale tonight at the San Siro as Chelsea bossed proceedings against the Italian champions.
The Scudetto-holders were facing an uphill battle less than 20 minutes into the contest after former Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori received a red card for fouling Mason Mount and supposedly denying a goalscoring opportunity. Referee Daniel Siebert had no doubts in his mind.
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In a double blow to Milan’s chancing of exacting revenge from last week’s trouncing, Chelsea were also awarded a penalty from the same incident. Jorginho, back on Italian soil, converted with conviction past stand-in goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu. And that was pretty much that.
The Blues naturally hogged possession with their numerical superiority and they soon doubled their advantage, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang once again getting on the scoresheet to bite the hand that once fed him. It was an accurate finish to take the game beyond Milan’s reach.
Despite the whistle working in their favour, this was a mature performance from Chelsea, best epitomised by elder statesman Thiago Silva who, tonight, was making his 100th Champions League appearance. His San Siro showing ensured he has become only the fifth Brazilian centurion in the competition’s history.
It’s an illustrious list that includes the likes of Roberto Carlos, Dani Alves, Marcelo and Fernandinho. Silva can now take his rightful place among that contingent of Samba stars. And he aptly reached the milestone by keeping a clean sheet, on his old stamping ground no less.
Five Brazilian players have made 100 Champions League appearances:
🇧🇷 Roberto Carlos
🇧🇷 Dani Alves
🇧🇷 Thiago Silva 🆕
Parabéns, Monstro. #UCL
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) October 11, 2022
The veteran centre-back has racked up those appearances in the colours of Chelsea, PSG and Milan, making tonight’s triumph bittersweet for him. Now 38, his age-defying resilience at the back was once again exemplary for the Blues, leading with distinction and muzzling a lethal Milan attack.
Chelsea can now start to look forward having moved atop Group E, though Potter will know that there is still plenty of work to be done with just three points separate top from bottom. Next up for Chelsea in the competition is Red Bull Salzburg away in a fortnight.