Chelsea suffer defeat but Morata makes instant impact

Chelsea record signing Alvaro Morata showed a glimpse of his abilities after coming off the bench to register an assist in the 3-2 defeat to Bayern Munich at the National Stadium on Tuesday night.

It looked like Bayern were running away with victory after recording three goals in the first 26 minutes, but Marcos Alonso pulled one back before the break and Michy Batshuayi finished off Morata’s flick-on to ensure an enthralling end to a game.

While he was less than impressed by his side’s first-half display in the opening game of the Singapore leg of the International Champions Cup (ICC) 2017, Antonio Conte was left satisfied with Morata’s contribution on his debut.

Besides Morata’s promising debut, the 48, 522 fans present were also treated to a display of football played at the highest level.

“For sure, he showed good will to fight and do into our idea of football. For us, he is a good buy,” said the Italian. “We must give him the right time to adapt but he must be pleased with his performance.

“Our start (to the game) wasn’t good but the players showed me a great well to try to change the result.”

Besides Morata’s promising debut, the 48, 522 fans present were also treated to a display of football played at the highest level.

Despite this being a friendly match, the level of competitiveness was evident as early as in the fourth minute, with Cesar Azpilicueta being penalised for a robust challenge on Franck Ribery.

The fans were treated to a goal fest

The floodgates were opened two minutes later, with right-back Rafinha collecting Ribery’s crossfield pass before unleashing a 25-yard grasscutter that pinged in off the left-hand post to put Bayern 1-0.

The Bavarian giants then doubled their advantage in the 12th minute.

Ribery was instrumental once again as he tore down the left byline – luring out Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the process – before lofting a cross into the six-yard box for captain Thomas Muller to fire home a sizzling first-time volley.  

James Rodriguez should have gotten onto the act six minutes later when he was left unmarked in the box from Ribery’s cross, but the Real Madrid loanee contrived to volley over when it seemed easier to hit the target.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side duly made it 3-0 on 26 minutes via a superb breakaway, with the backtracking Chelsea backline allowing Muller to go on a solo run before the latter curled a superb 30-yard effort beyond the despairing reach of Courtois for his second goal of the night.

The Blues only woke up from their slumber towards the end of the first half, with Alonso and captain Gary Cahill seeing their efforts go off-target.

Muller answered his critics in the best way possible: Scoring

Conte’s men did get a lifeline with the last kick of the first half, with right wing-back Victor Moses drilling a teasing ball across goal from which Alonso lashed home first-time into the bottom right corner to reduce the deficit.

Bayern could have gotten more goals after the break, but James first nodded off-target from Marco Friedl’s deep cross before lashing just wide of the right-hand post from Ribery’s cutback.

Chelsea then brought on Morata on the hour mark to replace youngster Jeremie Boga and the 24-year-old started to get into the thick of things with a few good runs down the channels.

The Blues finished the game strongly, with David Luiz – who came on as a 63rd-minute substitute for Andreas Christensen – seeing his deflected shot from range come off the right-hand post.

Ancelotti was full of praise for the 27-year-old Muller, who endured much criticism last season for not scoring enough goals

They eventually made it a one-goal game five minutes before the end, with Belgian forward Michy Batshuayi bundling home after Morata had done well to flick on Cesc Fabregas’ inswinging corner.

However, that was all they could muster as they went down to a valiant 3-2 defeat.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Ancelotti was full of praise for the 27-year-old Muller, who endured much criticism last season for not scoring enough goals.

“Last year, Thomas didn’t score a lot of goals but his position on the pitch was always good,” he said.

“He’s very important because he’s an intelligent player and is able to find space, to be ready.”

Photos: 2017 International Champions Cup Singapore