LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – A first-half penalty for Italian midfielder Jorginho was enough for Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Everton on Saturday to start their Premier League campaign on a positive note.
Chelsea managed to score a goal at home with 13 corner kicks in the first half, but it seemed that they would be frustrated as the end of the first half approached, only to Jorginho to convert from the penalty spot after a mistake by Ben Chilwell to give the visitors the lead.
It was a compensation for Italian midfielder Jorginho, who saved a penalty saved by Everton goalkeeper and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the Euro 2020 final last July.
A superb save by Edward Mendy early in the second half to deny Abdallah Doukuri the Chelsea edge was as good as the disappointing Everton, who only survived relegation by flogging his teeth last season.
England striker Raheem Sterling could have made an impressive appearance a second late, but saw his shot from close range veered wide.
It didn’t matter too much because Chelsea, after a season of turmoil following the sale of the club to an investment group led by Todd Boehle, the club’s partial owner, grabbed the three points with ease.
“Winning is winning and that’s what we play for,” said Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel. “It is important to build trust and faith now. We are open to improvement and criticism, but there are good things to get rid of.
“We got three points, and our nets are clean. From here we start. We didn’t take the risks that we normally take in the last 25 metres.”
Everton manager Frank Lampard called the term better in his pre-match program notes, but a woeful pass from Ben Godfrey saw him off injury after he made one last tackle to recover after just 15 minutes.
Everton later confirmed that Godfrey was taken to hospital with a lower leg injury.
Mason Mount scored Chelsea’s first attempt at goal moments later, and Pickford had to make a brilliant save.
Sterling had the ball into the net towards the end of the opening period, but was correctly reported for an offside.
A lengthy first-half hiatus followed due to Godfrey’s injury, and in the extra ninth minute Jorginho scored what proved to be the winner after Doukurie’s clumsy tackle. This means that 18 of Jorginho’s 20 Premier League goals came from a penalty kick.
The second half was cornered by few chances, with Everton lacking the necessary quality, especially in the attacking areas, as they slipped to their first defeat on the opening day since 2011-12.
“I thought we played well against a strong opponent,” Lampard told the BBC. “I thought the penalty was the only difference between the two teams.
“One lack of focus and they achieved their goal. I felt a draw would be a fair result.”
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge)