RB Salzburg 1-2 Chelsea: Kai Havertz STUNNER sees excellent Blues move into Champions League last-16


From sampling the Champions League for the first time ever to guiding Chelsea into the knockout stages with a game to spare just over a month later.

Graham Potter is clearly a quick learner.

For someone who had never even been to a game in Europe’s elite competition before his first match in charge of Chelsea midway through last month, Potter has looked right at home in the Champions League.

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz (above, right) scored a stunning winner to help his side beat Red Bull Salzburg 2-1 on Tuesday evening

The German bent a left-footed shot into the top corner as Chelsea qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League

The German bent a left-footed shot into the top corner as Chelsea qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League

MATCH FACTS: RB Salzburg vs Chelsea, Champions League

Red Bull Salzburg (4-1-2-1-2): Kohn 7.5; Dedic 7, Bernardo 6, Pavlovic 7, Wober 7(Ulmer 78); Gourna-Douath 6.5; Seiwald 7, Kjaergaard 6.5; Sucic 7 (Sesko 61, 6.5); Okafor 7 (Simic 78), Adamu 7.5 (Kameri 82).

Substitutes not used: Mantl, Walke; Van Der Brempt, Piatkowski, Baidoo, Diarra. 

Goals: Adamu 48. 

Yellow cards: Sucic 47.

Manager: Matthias Jaissle 7.

Chelsea (3-5-1-1) Arrizabalaga 7.5; Chalobah 8, Thiago Silva 8.5, Cucurella 7; Sterling 7.5 (Ziyech 88), Kovacic 8 (Loftus-Cheek 68, 6), Jorginho 7, Gallagher 8 (Mount 88), Pulisic 7 (Azpilicueta 75, 6); Havertz 8, Aubameyang 7.5 (Broja 75, 6.5).

Substitutes not used: Mendy, Bettinelli; Chilwell, Zakaria, Chukwuemeka. 

Goals: Kovacic 23, Havertz 64.

Yellow cards: Gallagher 86, Arrizabalaga 90+2.

Manager: Graham Potter 7.5. 

Referee: Sandro Scharer 6. 

The two victories over European royalty AC Milan were an indication of that and this was another such occasion, just as notable, but for different reasons.

Salzburg may not have the pedigree of Milan but they had the sort of daunting home record – 40 games unbeaten in all competitions – that any of the continent’s big guns would be proud of.

Yet Potter masterminded a Chelsea victory that stood out firstly just for ending it and was further impressive for the varied qualities of Champions League veterans that he inspired his side to show.

Chelsea’s first-half display, was dominant, controlled and positively brimming with attacking intent.

And in the second half they had to keep their heads in a raucous atmosphere inside the Red Bull Arena, weather a few mini-storms and match the fired-up hosts to emerge victorious and safely through to the next round.

For that, Potter deserves plaudits. When he took over Chelsea were up against it after losing their Group E opener at Dinamo Zagreb in what turned out to be Thomas Tuchel’s final game.

Their task then got a little tougher when they were held to a Stamford Bridge draw by Salzburg on Potter’s Chelsea dugout debut.

At that stage, it was hard not to wonder how it might reflect on Potter if Chelsea had not made it through.

There is no need to worry about that now thanks to the upturn he has overseen.

‘It’s not easy to win here as you can see from the record they have and the quality of the team. We had to play well and I thought we did. To go through with a game to spare is brilliant considering where we started the competition,’ Potter said.

‘It’s a top competition. Amazing and fantastic to be involved in, a real test against some fantastic teams and a great experience coming to these venues and experiencing an away match in the Champions League. It’s tough and challenging, but I’ve really enjoyed it.’

Forwards Raheem Sterling (pictured, right) and Christian Pulisic began the game as attack-minded wing-backs for the visitors

Forwards Raheem Sterling (pictured, right) and Christian Pulisic began the game as attack-minded wing-backs for the visitors

Blues midfielder Mateo Kovacic (right) opened the scoring with one of his side's first chances of the game in central Austria

Blues midfielder Mateo Kovacic (right) opened the scoring with one of his side’s first chances of the game in central Austria

The Austrian-born star reacted well to a Max Wober clearance, steering a first-time left-footed half-volley into the top corner

The Austrian-born star reacted well to a Max Wober clearance, steering a first-time left-footed half-volley into the top corner

Mateo Kovacic and Kai Havertz got the two goals which condemned Salzburg to their first home defeat since way back in February last year.

Both were spectacular finishes, left-footed and arrowed into Salzburg goalkeeper Philipp Kohn’s top right-hand corner.

Kovacic’s was a rare one, just his fourth in Chelsea colours. Havertz’s was much-needed, just his third of the season for Chelsea.

Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) saw Salzburg's Philipp Kohn (left) deny him in a one-on-one situation

Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) saw Salzburg’s Philipp Kohn (left) deny him in a one-on-one situation

Kohn then made a fine one-handed stop to deny Aubameyang at the near post in the very last action of the first 45 minutes

Kohn then made a fine one-handed stop to deny Aubameyang at the near post in the very last action of the first 45 minutes

Blues boss Graham Potter (pictured) looked on frustratedly as his side equalised just three minutes into the second half

Blues boss Graham Potter (pictured) looked on frustratedly as his side equalised just three minutes into the second half

Potter said: ‘His quality is there; he’s an incredibly talented player. He’s been nearly there and obviously, scoring a goal like that is bound to help.

‘I wouldn’t be able to score a goal like that to be fair, I can only imagine! It’s a fantastic strike and an indication of the quality he has.’

Chelsea fully deserved their opener from Kovacic midway through the first-half having answered Potter’s pre-match call for intensity and created a number of chances.

Austrian striker Junior Adamu (right) equalised just three minutes into the second half, steering home Max Wober's fine cross

Austrian striker Junior Adamu (right) equalised just three minutes into the second half, steering home Max Wober’s fine cross

Salzburg's Adamu then made a brilliant goal-line clearance to deny Jorginho after the Italian flicked on a second-half corner

Salzburg’s Adamu then made a brilliant goal-line clearance to deny Jorginho after the Italian flicked on a second-half corner

The main concern would have been that their half-time lead was not bigger.

Some of their football was certainly worthy of more, particularly a couple of slick moves that ended with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being denied by Kohn who was kept busy throughout.

Salzburg had threatened sporadically but it was not initially obvious why they had been so formidable at home for so long.

Then the second half started. They came out a different side, had an appeal for a penalty ignored and then Maximilian Wober got away down the left and crossed for Junior Adamu to finish first time past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

After Aubameyang, Christian Pulisic and Jorginho threatened in response for Chelsea, Salzburg coach Matthias Jaissle brought on exciting striker Benjamin Sesko whose arrival whipped up the crowd further until Havertz briefly silenced them, bending his brilliant finish past Kohn via the underside of the bar.

Attempts from Sesko and Strahinja Pavlovic underlined that while Salzburg were down, they were not yet out and with Chelsea unable to finish them off they retained hope until the end.

Chelsea though had the ageless Thiago Silva plus Trevoh Chalobah and Kepa who both continued their excellent form under Potter and refused to be beaten a second time.

Missed any of the action? Catch up with Sportsmail’s live blog for Tuesday night’s Champions League clash between RB Salzburg and Chelsea, with coverage from MAX MATHEWS.



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