Blues see off Malaysia XI 4-1, but de Bruyne injury is a worry

Stanley Chou

Chelsea saw off a Malaysia XI without too much fuss in Kuala Lumpur, going ahead early and eventually earning a 4-1 win. Goals from Bertrand Traore, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Victor Moses put the game beyond the hosts quickly, and if the Blues took their foot off the gas and let them come back into it towards the end, that was entirely understandable.

It was clear from the off that this game would be significantly more open than the match against the Singha All-Stars. Chelsea were getting chances and it didn't take long for them to capitalise. Lukaku had already forced a sprawling save by the time the Blues took the lead in the sixth minute, but the big striker was barely involved in the goal.

Traore freed up de Bruyne to sprint down the right, and the Belgian used Eden Hazard and Lukaku as decoy runs for his cross, which came in low and behind their runs -- and right into the path of Traore. The 17-year-old finished superbly, the shot nutmegging a defender on its way to the bottom corner.

It didn't look like it'd stay 1-0 for long. Traore was very lively early and nearly got a second when a lucky bounce meant the ball fell to him at the edge at the box. Lukaku nearly got on the end of cross before a brief spell of Malaysia pressure which ended up being relieved by some productive route one football.

Mark Schwarzer, making his Chelsea debut, punted long for Lukaku, who flicked on to de Bruyne at the edge of the area. There was a shot on, and de Bruyne wasted no time, smashing home a volley that fizzed just under the crossbar. The goal came at a cost, though -- he landed awkwardly and ended up stretchered off with an apparent ankle injury. Islam Feruz came on to replace him.

There was time for another Blues goal, and it came through Lukaku. He'd been lively all game and made a superb run behind the Malaysian line. Traore fed him as he raced clear, and the big striker took a deft touch before feathering a shot into the bottom corner. That goal closed out the first half in which Chelsea thoroughly dominated, with Schwarzer handling everything the hosts threw at him whenever they managed to put us under pressure.

The second half saw wholesale changes. Only Marco van Ginkel and Hazard remained on the pitch for the Blues. The newcomers rather obviously wanted to score -- Victor Moses, Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba all ripped shots in on goal, but the best opportunity fell to Hazard. Sadly, the Belgian wizard isn't really used to finding himself getting free headers from close range, and his effort floated wide.

There was good news when de Bruyne hobbled back to the bench unassisted and watched the last half hour of the match, which roughly coincided with Josh McEachran and Lucas Piazon taking the pitch with van Ginkel and Hazard relieved. But Chelsea weren't playing well, and the defence in particular was having a bizarre time of things, with their back-passing in particular suggesting that they were playing drunk.

There was time enough for McEachran to show his qualities. Held out of the first friendly due to an injury, he made the most of his 25 minutes on the pitch. His long passing in particular was magnificent, and he displayed the sort of imagination in possession that only Oscar and Mata match on a regular basis. He got the assist he deserved with a through ball to Moses which the Nigerian made a meal of but scored with the help of the goalkeeper.

Then came a Malaysia XI goal. Tomas Kalas failed to clear a free kick, forcing Cech into a snap save, but he couldn't control the rebound and it was nodded into the net for a consolation. That's not how Jose Mourinho will have wanted to close the game out, and it could have gotten even worse when the midfield broke down and forced Ashley Cole into a spectacular goalline clearance. There's clearly some work to do on the defensive side of things.

But as scorelines go, 4-1 isn't so bad. Let's hope de Bruyne turns out to be ok and it'll have been a decent enough day.

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