26 min: Chelsea nearly double their lead. The corner’s swung in from the right. Aubameyang flicks a header towards the bottom right. The ball takes another small flick off Wober, but Kohn, at full stretch, sticks out a strong hand to turn the ball off his goal-line. What a save!
25 min: Sterling goes in for a 50-50 with Adamu, the home hero coming off second best. Plenty of whistles as Chelsea go on to win a corner on the right.
GOAL! Salzburg 0-1 Chelsea (Kovacic 23)
Some pinball on the edge of the Salzburg box. Nothing much to write home about … until the ball breaks to Kovacic, on the edge of the D. He swings an instinctive left peg at the ball, and whistles it into the top-left corner! Kohn had no chance whatsoever! In the corner of the stadium, Chelsea’s travelling band of brothers are a very happy few.
21 min: Chelsea hog the ball in the midfield in the patient style. Meanwhile the earlier mention of St Crispin’s Day has sent Gary Naylor scampering off to his bookshelf, and specifically to his well-thumbed copy of Henry V “and this aperçu from Shakey (who let’s face it, had a few)
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
“I think we all know Graham Potter can do the first bit, but the second is what makes the difference in the big games. I guess we’ll know by end May.”
19 min: The first lull of the match. Both teams have been going at it hell for leather, they’ve earned the right to ease off a tad.
17 min: Seiwald loops a strange cross in from a deep spot on the right. Kjærgaard can’t meet it at the far stick, but Chelsea were light at the back and would have been exposed with a better ball.
15 min: Cucurella plays a very dicey ball across the face of his own box from the left. It just about evades Okafor, but Chelsea only half clear, and Sucic is quickly striding back towards their box with the ball. He flays it well over the bar.
13 min: Pulisic has a probe down the right this time. Nothing doing. Salzburg counter. Kjærgaard swings a speculative cross in from the left, but it’s too strong for Adamu. A nice, bright feel to this game.
11 min: Kepa’s careless wedge forward is intercepted and leads to another corner. Nothing comes of it, but having been pushed back during the very early stages, the hosts are responding with some high-octane pressing of their own.
9 min: … but it’s Salzburg who win the first corner of the match, Dedić making his way down the right and earning it off Sterling. The resulting set piece is nearly met by Bernardo at the near post, but the presence of Chalobah does enough to put him off. That’s some fine defending.
7 min: Pulisic turns on the jets to make space down the left. He fizzes in a low cross that Gourna-Douath intercepts, then nearly runs out of play for a corner. The Salzburg midfielder just about keeps the ball from going out, then draws a foul from Pulisic. There wasn’t much in that, and Gourna-Douath got away with one there.
5 min: Chelsea have started on the front foot – this is what Salzburg usually do here – and they swarm the hosts into shipping possession 30 yards out. Gallagher nearly releases Aubameyang down the inside-right channel and into the box, but the pass is a bit lively and the striker can’t control. Kohn, his head now clear, save those two apologies rattling around in it, gathers calmly.
4 min: Thankfully Kohn is quickly back up on his feet, though he took a proper clack from Havertz there. It was completely innocent, and Havertz’s genuine apology is accepted. Whether the one Kohn gets from Bernardo merits equal grace is a moot point, but the brave keeper accepts it anyway.
2 min: Bernardo sends a weak defensive header back towards his keeper Kohn. Havertz is entitled to go for the ball – it’s 51-49 in favour of the keeper at best – and though Kohn clears bravely, he’s caught by the Chelsea attacker’s knee. Ow.
After some extremely warm and appreciative applause in memory of Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who died last weekend, Chelsea get the ball rolling. A genuinely emotional moment. Angel wings.
The teams are out! Salzburg are in their bespoke European grey, Chelsea first-choice blue. We’ll be off once Zadok the Priest’s sell-out younger brother does his marketing turn for Uefa.
Graham Potter speaks to BT Sport. “We’re going to try to [qualify] tonight. We’re going to be positive. We know we’re playing against a tough opponent, they make it very difficult here, so it’s not straightforward. But we have to try to bring our game to the match. Salzburg are a tough team to play against, they attack with clarity, defend with clarity, and are very aggressive and intense. You need to use width against them. They defend quite narrow. Raheem Sterling will be playing wide. If we can get the ball to him, we’re hopeful he can cause them problems.”
Graham Potter has made four changes to Chelsea’s starting XI. Mateo Kovacic, Conor Gallagher, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz all regain their places in the wake of the 1-1 draw with Manchester United last Saturday. Ben Chilwell, Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount drop to the bench.
Red Bull Salzburg: Kohn, Dedic, Wober, Pavlovic, Bernardo, Gourna-Douath, Seiwald, Kjaergaard, Sucic, Adamu, Okafor.
Subs: Mantl, van der Brempt, Piatkowski, Baidoo, Ulmer, Simic, Diarra, Sesko, Walke.
Chelsea: Kepa, Chalobah, Thiago Silva, Cucurella, Sterling, Kovacic, Jorginho, Pulisic, Gallagher, Havertz, Aubameyang.
Subs: Loftus-Cheek, Bettinelli, Mendy, Broja, Mount, Zakaria, Chilwell, Ziyech, Azpilicueta, Chukwuemeka.
Referee: Sandro Scharer (Switzerland).
Last time in Group E this happened …
… and so, should Graham Potter’s side win in Austria this evening, they’ll qualify for the knockout stage of this season’s Champions League. Kick-off is at
Vespers, St. Crispin’s Day 5.45pm BST. It’s on!