An entertaining EFL cup tie saw Chelsea edge out League one opposition Bristol Rovers 3-2, in a game that saw new summer signing Michy Batshuayi score a brace on his maiden start for the club.
Conte opted to select a strong starting 11, with the likes of Pedro, Nemanja Matic and Gary Cahill all starting. Summer signing Michy Batshuayi made his first start for the club, with Loftus-Cheek playing a more advanced role behind the lone striker- in which he impressed.
A pulsating first half saw Chelsea waste a number of good opportunities to take the lead. The best of which fell to Batshuayi, who, after being played through brilliantly by Loftus-Cheek dragged his left foot shot wide of Mildenhall’s post.
Minutes later Loftus-Cheek struck the foot of the post after his powerful run allowed him space to shoot from the edge of the area.
Chelsea however, were not to be denied for much longer. Just before the half-hour mark, Batshuayi’s gave Chelsea the lead, with a fine left-footed strike into the roof of the net, after some good work from Matic. Chelsea doubled their lead two minutes later after Azpilicueta redirected Pedro’s cross back across goal for Victor Moses to tap home.
However, Bristol Rovers, who had rarely threatened in the first half, found a way back into the match. A brilliant free-kick from Chris Lines was expertly dispatched by Peter Hartley, guiding his header into the bottom corner past Begovic. Rovers’ had the chance to equalise moments later, but Elis Harrison could only head the ball over the bar.
The miss proved costly, as 4 minutes before half time, Batshuayi had his second of the evening. Loftus-Cheek spun his marker before squaring the ball across goal for Batshuayi, who made no mistake finishing from 6 yards out.
Chelsea took a confident 3-1 lead into the break, but it was Rovers’ who came out in the second half with more impetus. Matty Taylor was brought down in the box by Pedro, and Elis Harrison made no mistake from the spot, firing the ball powerfully into the net.
A tense finish to the match saw Antonio Conte bring on reinforcements in the shape of Hazard and Terry, which saw Chelsea hold on and progress to the third round of the EFL cup.
Photo source: DailyMail