Romelu Lukaku’s goal was enough to give holders Chelsea a victory in their opening Champions League group match. Here’s how we rated each Blues player.
Edouard Mendy: 6
The Chelsea keeper had little to do for long spells, other than a simple save from a shot by Yaroslav Ratits’kyy in the 38th minute. Also denied Wendel during a rare second-half Zenit attack.
Antonio Rudiger: 8
A reliable, robust presence as always and a vital bulwark against the occasional foray by Zenit. Embarked on a great, mazy run before shooting just wide at the start of the second half, helping provide Chelsea with some zest. Also produced a top-class interception against Sardar Azmoun to deny what might have been a shock goal for Zenit.
Andreas Christensen: 7
The Dane was both vigilant and comfortable, up against Zenit’s Azmoun for long spells. Constantly alert to the Russians moving forward.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7
Foraged relentlessly down the right, as the Blues captain attempted to get beyond a low block of Russian defenders. And his cross from the right to find Lukaku for the winner was perfect.
Marcos Alonso: 7
Regularly on a roving commission, the experienced raider was at the forefront of the team’s dogged attempts to end Zenit’s impressive resistance. Sliced a shot inches wide as the hosts looked to double their lead.
Always involved in Chelsea’s promptings, trying to work the ball past the well-drilled Russians in the first half. Overall, however, it was a comparatively unproductive night by the Italy international’s high standards.
Mateo Kovacic: 7
The Blues’ ever-willing enforcer did a power of work to nullify the Zenit counter-attacking potential. A keen eye for a defence-splitting pass as he increasingly linked up well with Alonso.
Reece James: 6
Helped avert danger early on with a timely interception against Zenit winger Claudinho, who was poised to drive home. Should have at least found the target only to shoot weakly wide on 55 minutes.
Hakim Ziyech: 6
Was largely anonymous for most of the first half. However, the Moroccan drew a fine save from Zenit keeper Stanislav Kritsyuk after the interval as Chelsea stepped up the tempo. No surprise when substituted for Kai Havertz with the need for a home goal increasingly urgent.
Mason Mount: 6
A quiet first half by the England midfielder and his distribution was disappointing at times just when Chelsea exuded more urgency to try and break the deadlock. Noticeably improved as the game wore on, winning the ball in key areas.
Romelu Lukaku: 8
The talisman. Well-policed early on by Zenit defender Dmitri Chistyakov, as the Blues’ £97.5m striker aimed to add to his three goals so far this term. Headed over before the break as Chelsea struggled to break down Sergei Semak’s men. Finally rose above Chistyakov to expertly head home the winner on 69 minutes.
Kai Havertz: 6
Came on for Ziyech on 62 minutes. The Germany international’s presence signalled greater urgency ahead of the breakthrough.