Red Bull Salzburg vs. Chelsea result, highlights & analysis as Blues qualify for Champions League last-16
Graham Potter made four changes to the lineup that drew with Manchester United in the Premier League, bringing in Christian Pulisic and Conor Gallagher.
A strong beginning forced Kepa Arrizabalaga into a number of saves for Salzburg, but it was Chelsea who claimed the lead when Mateo Kovacic directed a drive from the edge of the box into the top corner.
The visitors kept pressing and came near to scoring a second when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was let through on goal, only for Philipp Kohn to save him.
Salzburg emerged for the second half with fresh energy and grabbed an equaliser after 48 minutes through Junior Adamu who cushioned a finish past Kepa after being played through in behind.
Chelsea responded well and regained the lead when Kai Havertz crashed a long-range strike in off the underside of the crossbar.
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A switch to a back four saw Chelsea stifle the Salzburg attack as the Premier League side saw out an important victory which secured their place in the next round of the competition.
This had the potential to be a difficult match for Chelsea, and there were moments when Salzburg looked dangerous and could have scored more than once, but the Blues’ midfield was key to their victory.
Kovacic was untouchable in the centre of the pitch, gliding past opponents at will while Conor Gallagher also impressed with his performance. Their creativity and determination to get forward meant Chelsea always carried a threat even when they were sitting deep towards the end of the match.
Chelsea’s players have been kept on their toes by their new manager’s numerous tactical tweaks in the first two months of his term. Potter started his squad in a 3-4-3 formation, with Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling as wing backs, which allowed the Blues to find space in wide areas.
However, with the game becoming a little too open for Potter’s comfort in the second half, he shifted to a back four to blunt the Salaburg onslaught. This worked as well, as Chelsea got through the final ten minutes with ease. Potter’s tactical acumen continues to impress.
He's Champions League. pic.twitter.com/V1g5evtAw1
Red Bull Salzburg have a great history for producing some of the best attacking players in the game (cough… Erling Haaland… cough… Sadio Mane), and with Adamu and Benjamin Sesko, they have two more future superstars on their roster.
With maturity beyond his years, Adamu scored Salzburg’s equalizer, while Sesko was a handful off the bench in the second half, forcing Kepa into an outstanding save with a fierce effort from the edge of the box. Prepare to hear these names a lot in the Champions League.
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Chelsea final score
0-1 CHE – Mateo Kovacic – 23 mins
1-1 RBS – Junior Adamu – 48 mins
1-2 CHE – Kai Havertz – 64 mins