Six weeks after suffering what eternal sugar-coating optimist Frank Lampard called a “little twist of the knee”, Hakim Ziyech made his first competitive appearance, playing the final half-hour of Morocco’s friendly against Senegal yesterday.
The Wizard of AMS wasted little time in waving the magic wand that is his left leg, flighting a perfect assist from a free kick for Youssef El-Arabi’s headed goal that gave Morocco a 3-0 lead. (The Senegal goalkeeper didn’t exactly cover himself in glory on this play, but fortunately — well, unfortunately — that wasn’t Édouard Mendy, who’s back at Chelsea after suffering an injury of his own prior to this match.)
Senegal would score a late consolation to set the final 3-1 scoreline. Morocco will have another friendly, against DR Congo on Tuesday, but hopefully they won’t be pushing Ziyech too much. These games don’t really matter that much at all.
Chelsea’s only other senior international in action yesterday did play in a game that matters a bit. Thiago Silva played the first 70 minutes in Brazil’s 5-0 win over Bolivia in the first game of their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. A brace from Roberto Firmino and a brace of assists from Neymar was more than enough to get The Seleção started off on the right foot.