Chelsea completed the double over AC Milan to top Champions League Group E with a 2-0 victory at San Siro on Tuesday, a match the hosts had to play the majority of with 10 men.
Looking to build on a 3-0 win over the Italians last week, Chelsea’s task in Milan’s famous old stadium was made all the more navigable after home defender Fikayo Tomori was sent off against his former club when conceding a 17th-minute penalty.
Jorginho converted from the spot after Milan’s protests had calmed down, before striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored for the third successive match in all competitions to double Chelsea’s lead in the 34th minute.
With the numerical disadvantage, chances were at a premium for Milan in the second half, full-back Sergino Dest wasting the best of them by blazing over from a good position.
Chelsea remained mostly untroubled though, with the victory moving them to seven points from four matches, a point ahead of RB Salzburg and three in front of Milan and Dinamo Zagreb.
“To come here and win is not easy,” Chelsea coach Graham Potter told BT Sport. “Credit to the players. They were really good.
“We had a bit of luck with the opposition going down to 10 men. It’s nice for the penalty and nice for Jorginho to score. It was a nice move to lead to it. It is what it is. Sometimes they go for you. Overall the performance was good. “
Qualification for the knockout stages looked like it may be a tall order for Chelsea after a shock defeat in their group opener at Dinamo Zagreb was followed by a disappointing home draw with Salzburg.
But victory over seven-time European Cup winners and Serie A champions Milan last week brought Chelsea right back into it — setting things up nicely for the return match in Italy.
England international Tomori’s foul on Mason Mount, however, effectively ended the match as a contest.
Tomori, who joined Milan from Chelsea in 2021, could not believe the referee showed him a straight red card, but the decision stood after a VAR review, as the 24-year-old became the first English player to get sent off in a Champions League game against an English side.
“The penalty and red card changed everything,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli told Mediaset. “Chelsea didn’t need to play with a numerical superiority.
“I don’t want to review the episode, it seems too obvious. I don’t want to comment. I told the referee what I think, I don’t speak English very well but I think he understood “.
Jorginho confidently dispatched the spot kick, and the second goal was brimming with quality, with Mount heavily involved, laying the ball through for Aubameyang to continue his fine scoring run having joined Chelsea from Barcelona last month.
Substitute Conor Gallagher should have added a third early in the second, before blazing another opportunity over later in the half, but it mattered little, as Chelsea, in cruise control, saw the match out with ease.
It is now four wins from five in all competitions for new coach Potter since taking over from Thomas Tuchel last month.
Text via Reuters