Graham Potter begins Chelsea reign with frustrating raw in Champions League

Graham Potter begins Chelsea reign with frustrating raw in Champions League

Rene Otinga
September 15, 2022 at 6:41 AM
  • Raheem Sterling’s strike was cancelled out by Salzburg’s Noah Okafor in the Champions League as Chelsea played out a 1-1 draw
  • It was Graham Potter’s first game in charge of the Blues
  • His new team remains bottom of Group E with a single point from their opening two games

Graham Potter’s first game in charge of Chelsea manager ended in a 1-1 draw against Salzburg as the Blues suffered another setback in their quest to qualify for the knockout stages.

Potter made an interesting decision in his first game, choosing to start Raheem Sterling as an advanced wingback.

His gamble however paid off as Sterling continued his purple patch in Chelsea colors as he curled in the opener after 48 minutes.

Potter, Chelsea, Salzburg
Graham Potter, Manager of Chelsea shakes hands with Christian Pulisic. Photo by Mike Hewitt.
Source: Getty Images

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But Salzburg were no pushover, and they found an equalizer through Noah Okafor, who clipped in Junior Adamu's low cross after Thiago Silva missed a tackle.

How it happened

Graham Potter only had six day to perhaps instill some of his philosophies on the Chelsea players before his first game in charge.

With his appointment came some concerns over his credentials as he only has three years’ experience in the Premier League with Brighton and Hove Albion.

But when it came to matters on the pitch, it was clear that Potter actually had a plan for the West London side, whose risky style of play initially looked to have reaped dividend.

His squad selection as also surprising to many as he opted to drop Wesley Fofana, Kalidou Koulibaly and Ben Chilwell, who were all involved in the defeat to Dinamo Zagreb.

As far as the game was concerned, the closes either side came to scoring in the first half interestingly came within moments of each other.

For Chelsea, the chance fell Mason Mount’s way but the England forward sliced his shot inches wide after a cross from Cucurella.

On the other end, Benjamin Sesko saw a curling effort tipped away by Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Eventually, the breakthrough was found by Sterling, who has been rediscovering his spark in Chelsea colors under Tuchel before the sack.

Reece James made a powerful run and fed Mason Mount, whose low cross was miscontrolled by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Sterling was on hand to finish.

Chelsea were however punished for their desire to keep playing in Salzburg’s half, as the away side dispossessed Sterling and Cucurella in the halfway line, leading to the equalizer.

Haaland sinks former side Dortmund

In the other game, Erling Haaland continued his fine run of form as he found the back of the net to inspire Man City to a 2-1 thrilling comeback win over his former side Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

Two late goals from John Stones and Haaland cancelled off Jude Bellingham's opener for the Bundesliga side.

City are now topping Group G of the European competition with six points after two matches, while Dortmund are second with three points

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
HOD- EPL I Serie A
Raheem SterlingUEFA Champions League