UEFA Champions League: Chelsea held to a 0-0 draw by Sevilla

Chelsea's opening Group E fixture in the Champions League ended in a cagey 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Franco Vazquez of Sevilla holds off Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League contest in London on Tuesday. - GETTY IMAGES

Chelsea was frustrated by a disciplined Sevilla as their opening Group E fixture in the Champions League ended in a cagey 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Europa League winner Sevilla, which has been a thorn in the side of English clubs in Europe, contained Chelsea's attacking threats in a game of few clear chances.

Sevilla dominated possession in the first half with Nemanja Gudelj's header forcing a save from Edouard Mendy.

Clean sheet

Chelsea's most productive spell came after the restart when Kurt Zouma and Ben Chilwell both headed good chances straight at Sevilla keeper Yassine Bounou. Yet it was a night of defensive superiority as Chelsea manager Frank Lampard experienced his first 0-0 draw since taking over before the start of last season.

Sevilla had lost only four of its previous 17 matches against English sides, one of the last nine, and beat Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United on its way to its fourth Europa League title in seven seasons in August.

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Julen Lopetegui's side showed again that it is a tough nut to crack with a measured away performance, restricting Chelsea to six goal attempts, its lowest total in the Champions League since February 2015 against Paris St Germain.

Chelsea striker Timo Werner, making his first start in the competition for the Londoners, barely had a sight of goal while youngster Kai Havertz was a peripheral figure.

On the plus side Chelsea's defending was a vast improvement on its 3-3 Premier League draw with Southampton on Saturday with Thiago Silva and Mendy calming influences.

 

“I think the important thing was a clean sheet,” former Leicester City fullback Chilwell told BT Sport. “People were looking at us after conceding three on Saturday but definitely we were solid and they didn't have that many chances.”

Mendy dealt comfortably with Sevilla's three attempts on target and showed fine reactions to claw away Gudelj's awkward header in the first half.

After Chelsea's initial burst at the start of the second half, when Christian Pulisic began to threaten and Werner had one decent effort from long range, Sevilla ended strongly. The Spanish side came closest when Joan Jordan, who had replaced injured Sergi Gomez in the first half, met a deep corner with a dipping a volley that brushed the roof of the net.

'Positive result' - Lampard

Chelsea's defence has come under intense scrutiny this season but manager Frank Lampard was smiling after the goalless stalemate.

It was the first 0-0 draw for Chelsea since Lampard took charge before last season and while the game will not stay long in the memory it was satisfying all the same for the club's former midfielder and record goalscorer.

Europa League winner Sevilla is a canny team full of experienced performers in Europe but it was restricted to six shots on goal, the same amount Chelsea managed.

After the frenetic nature of the 3-3 draw with Southampton on Saturday in the Premier League, vastly-experienced defender Thiago Silva and keeper Edouard Mendy were calming influences.

“It's a positive result. I understood the need to get a result in the first game of the group,” Lampard told reporters.

“They're a really good team, it was an interesting game and I'm happy with the 0-0; it was a big deal to get a clean sheet.”

Chelsea suffered a scare before kickoff when Thiago Silva appeared to have injured himself in the warm-up but the former Paris St Germain defender had a near-perfect game.

“He was very good today. He brought quality and experience and affected others around him and that was a big part of us getting a clean sheet,” Lampard said.

Before Tuesday's game Lampard had been in charge for 62 games and in that time Chelsea had kept only 15 clean sheets, conceding 99 goals.

“I spoke to the players about game management,” Lampard said. “Sevilla are a top team and the concentration and focus you need to get a result was big. We made a lot of good decisions.”

'Happy with the job'

His counterpart Julen Lopetegui also praised his side's defending as they kept Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic quiet at Stamford Bridge.

“I'm happy with the job we did and the mentality and personality we showed at a difficult place to come,” he said.

“Against a team who spent EUR 250 million this summer and with good players in every position, it required a big collective effort. I think we had chances to get the three points but in the end we go on - it's only the first match.”

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