Chelsea took advantage of an early red card against Fikayo Tomori to beat AC Milan 2-0 at San Siro and move to the top of Champions League Group E on Tuesday.
The Blues’ victory continues a strong start under manager Graham Potter, who has gone unbeaten in three Champions League games since taking over from Thomas Tuchel.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, more (USA)
Milan were severely hampered by a male disadvantage after Tomori was sent off early in the 18th minute for a foul on Mason Mount in the box, which Chelsea took advantage of when Jorginho converted from the point. Shortly after, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his fine form by doubling Chelsea’s lead to earn his side’s fourth straight win and continue their unbeaten start under Potter’s stewardship.
Chelsea suffered a blow in the second half when Reece James was substituted off injured just after the hour mark.
Chelsea top the group with seven points from four games, followed by FC Salzburg with six points. AC Milan and Dinamo Zagreb each have four points.
GO TO: Player Ratings | Best/worst performance | Highlights and Notable Moments | Quotes after the game | Key Statistics | Upcoming appointments
1. Chelsea’s Potter makes it to the Champions League
Graham Potter admitted on his unveiling as Chelsea boss that he had never been to a Champions League game. A month later, the 47-year-old has picked up seven points from his first three games in the competition and recovered from a slow start under his predecessor Thomas Tuchel to take the fate of the Blues’ Group E into his own hands.
Back-to-back victories over a resurgent – albeit underperforming – AC Milan is a remarkable feat for Potter, particularly the win here in the San Siro’s cauldron. Fikayo Tomori’s early red card made that test much easier than it could have been, but Chelsea showed composure and maturity to go 2-0 up and then hold their own as Milan supporters wanted referee Daniel Siebert the sides equalize with each foul Chelsea committed (10 players were carded).
Chelsea still have a difficult journey to FC Salzburg ahead of them, but they know that a win over Dinamo Zagreb next time will ensure they reach the last 16.
2. AC Milan’s Tomori sees red, suffers again against ex-club
Tomori has made a name for himself at San Siro since leaving Chelsea, first on loan in January 2021 before making a permanent £24million move last summer. He admitted ahead of the first leg last week that there was a “point to prove” against his former employers.
But after a sobering return to west London last week, his engagement lasted just 18 minutes on Tuesday when he was sent off by German referee Daniel Siebert for pulling Mason Mount inside the box. It looked like a tough call at first, but Tomori hit the wrong side of Mount and then gave the referee a decision, arguing with his former teammate as he headed for goal.
When Siebert decided it was a foul, the red card was a logical step. Tomori argued furiously as the rowdy home fans vented their anger, but the 24-year-old was forced off the field. And that incident now adds to last week’s 3-0 defeat, on top of an own goal scored at Chelsea while on loan at the Derby in November 2018.
Such a well-known blunder also comes as a premature blow to Tomori’s hopes of edging his way into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup.
3. Injury worries build for busy blues
The only downside for Potter here was a deepening injury situation, not yet serious enough to be branded a crisis but nonetheless a situation of increasing concern. James, who has impressed in those two games against Milan, trudged away with a problem just after the hour mark on Tuesday.
Wesley Fofana has been out for several weeks with a knee injury, while N’Golo Kante has suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring problem and Hakim Ziyech is unwell.
Games come thick and fast up to the World Cup with nine more games to go before the tournament begins. Potter is already rotating heavily – he’s made six more changes here – and all of them will be needed in the coming weeks.
AC Milan: Tatarusanu 7, Kalulu 6, Gabbia 6, Tomori 4, Hernandez 6, Bennacer 6, Tonali 6, Diaz 6, Krunic 6, Leao 6, Giroud 5.
Subtitle: Dest 5, Rebic 6, Pobega 6, Origi 6, Ballo-Toure 6.
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga 6, Koulibaly 7, Chalobah 7, Silva 7, Chilwell 7, James 7, Kovacic 7, Jorginho 7, Mount 7, Sterling 6, Aubameyang 7.
Subtitle: Gallagher 6, Loftus Cheek 7, Azpilicueta 6, Havertz 6, Cucurella 6.
Best and worst performers
BEST: Reece James, Chelsea.
Theo Hernandez is a hugely influential player for Milan but on the same cross James outshone him and regularly caused Milan transition problems as Chelsea took control of the game.
WORST: Fikayo Tomori, AC Milan.
Will regrets being fired but was caught on the wrong side of the mount and gave his ten-man team an extremely difficult task for 72 minutes.
Highlights and notable moments
Does Tomori deserve a red card here?
Fikayo Tomori was sent off for that Mason Mount challenge, was it a red card? 👀 pic.twitter.com/oiBXtbrkPB
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 11, 2022
This was the foul that sent Tomori off and earned Chelsea a penalty. pic.twitter.com/YDgAa92XwT
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 11, 2022
Frame by frame of contact between Tomori and Mount.
After the game: what the managers, players said
AC Milan manager Stefano Pioli on Tomori’s red card: “I was just asking the referee if VAR is working properly. I don’t think tonight was the best refereeing evening, there’s no question about that.”
Chelsea manager Graham Potter on Tomori’s red card: “It’s tough from my position. It looks like he put his hand on him and Mason Mount was through the goal. I have to look carefully again. It’s nice for the penalty and nice for Jorginho to score to achieve.”
Key Stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)
– Jorginho’s last 19 goals have all come from the penalty spot. His goal on Tuesday was his seventh career penalty in the Champions League (6 with Chelsea), which puts him eighth all-time. Since joining Chelsea in 2018/19, the only players with more goals from the spot in the Champions League are Robert Lewandowski (9) and Lionel Messi (7).
Chelsea: A string of upcoming Premier League games – at Aston Villa on Sunday, then Brentford on Wednesday, before visiting Manchester United on October 22. The Blues’ next Champions League game is on October 25th at FC Salzburg.
AC Milan: On Saturday with Hellas Verona in Serie A and on October 22 host of Monza. Then a trip to Dinamo Zagreb for the Champions League on October 25th.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/uefa-champions-league/story/4768229/chelsea-beat-ac-milan-in-champions-league-as-tomori-sees-red Chelsea beat AC Milan in Champions League as Tomori sees red