UEFA Champions League

Zappacosta solo goal, Chelsea routs Qarabag 6-0 in CL opener

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

By ROB HARRIS

AP Global Soccer Writer

LONDON (AP) Davide Zappacosta surged down the field past two defenders before striking into the net for an audacious goal on his full debut as Chelsea marked its return to the Champions League with a 6-0 victory over Qarabag in Group C on Tuesday.

Zappacosta, a deadline-day wing back signing from Torino, caught goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic off guard with his 30th-minute cross-shot as the 2012 champions cruised to a club-record equaling victory in the competition after a season-long absence.

It was an uncomfortable introduction to the Champions League group stage for Qarabag, the defensively feeble Azerbaijan champions who first conceded after five minutes when Pedro Rodriguez bent the ball past Sehic.

Cesar Azpilicueta headed Chelsea further in front 10 minutes into the second half after being left unmarked to meet Cesc Fabregas' cross.

Just like Zappacosta, Tiemoue Bakayoko marked his Champions League debut for Chelsea with a goal in the 71st minute after coming off the bench.

Bakayoko turned provider for Michy Batshuayi to score, and the rout was completed by Zappacosta also setting up Batshuayi to send in the sixth off Maksim Medvedev.

The game at Stamford Bridge provided all the goals in Group C as Roma and Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 in the Italian capital.

More AP Champions League coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/ChampionsLeague

Updated September 12, 2017

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