Sterling effort from 10-man Chelsea as the beat Leicester City 2-1 at the Bridge

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 2 v  Leicester City 1

Raheem Sterling got his Chelsea goal-scoring exploits off to a great start by bagging both the goals, as 10-man Blues hung onto a 2-1 lead to claim all three points against Leicester City at the Bridge this afternoon.

The £47.5million striker, summer signing from Manchester City, did what he was bought for, by adding striker know-how and a finishing touch or two.

But the Blues had to do it the hard way as Conor Gallagher was sent off for two bookable offences, the second on 28 minutes, leaving the west Londoners the onus task of playing more than an hour with one fewer player.

This was a much-needed win, where the performance was secondary.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek had a golden opportunity to open the score early on, when after a quick break, the ball fell to Raheem Sterling on the left. the England striker cut the ball long the six-yard box. in-running Loftus-Cheek took a first time ball, goal-wards, but Danny Ward blocked the effort for a corner.

But the midfielder then won a penalty on 13 minutes when after an excellent one-two with Kai Havertz he was bundled over by Youri Tielemans. The referee Paul Tierney, pointed to the spot, but before Jorginho could do his thing, VAR intervened and ruled Havertz as being offside.

Conor Gallagher, who had been booked only a few minutes earlier was given a stonewall second on 28 minutes for a ‘professional’ foul. It was followed by the obligatory red.

He trotted off disconsolate.

The visitors thought they had bundled the ball home from a corner on 35 minutes but the referee adjudged Mendy was fouled by Harvey Barnes in the process.

Reece James could count himself a bit unlucky two minutes from the break when he smashed the top angle of post and crossbar. 

But within a minute of the restart, Sterling produced a classic curler with his right boot. The ball took a slight deflection on the way, and it looped over Ward and into the back of his net.

It was the west Londoner’s first goal for the Blues.

Sterling was unlucky not to add to the goal tally four minutes later, when a quick break saw the ex-Manchester City man drive a low shot past Ward, but it bounced off his right post and was cleared.

But he would not be denied, and on 63 minutes, James pinged over the perfect right byline cross and Sterling was on hand at the far post, unchallenged, to tuck the ball home for number two.

Just when the Blues fans deserved a bit of a breather, up popped Harvey Barnes on the left of the Chelsea penalty area. he took a couple of touches to nick past Thiago Silva before trying a left-footer. Mendy will be cursing himself for not covering his near post more effectively, and the ball zipped past him to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

Mendy was well positioned to thwart Jamie Vardy who pierced the Chelsea rearguard. The former England striker tried to chip the Senegal stopper, but he stood his ground and deflected the effort away from goal.

Vardy got free again on 84 minutes. This time he tried round the keeper, which he did, but the angle was too tight, and he smacked the side-netting instead.

 Substitute Ayoze Perez than rattled Mendy’s crossbar as the visitors pushed for the equaliser, their numerical advantage warranted.

 But the Blues dug deep, defended well and saw the remaining minutes out successfully.

They are in cation again, on Tuesday, away in the Premier League to Southampton.

Teams: Chelsea, Mendy, Jorginho, Silva, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Sterling, Mount, Gallagher, James, Havertz, Cucurella

Subs: Kepa, Kovacic, Pulisic, Broja, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell, Ziyech, Azpilicueta, Ampadu

Leicester City, Ward, Justin, Evans, Barnes, Tielemans, Vardy, Amartey, Dewsbury-Hall, Praet, Castagne, Soumare

Subs: Iversen, Sayuncu, Albrighton, Inheanacho  Perez, Daka, Mendy, Ndidi, Thomas

Referee: Paul Tierney 

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