MATCH REPORT: CHELSEA 2 AC MILAN 0
Chelsea will face Real Madrid in the final of the Guinness International Champions Cup after beating AC Milan 2-0 in New Jersey.
A well-taken goal by Kevin De Bruyne midway through the first half put us in control before Andre Schurrle put the game beyond doubt late on, as we maintained our 100 per cent record in pre-season.
De Bruyne finished brilliantly from an Eden Hazard pass to break the deadlock, and while it looked like we may be made to pay for wasting so many good opportunities, Schurrle popped up in the 90th minute with a fantastic volley.
On the balance of play, it was a thoroughly deserved win, setting us up nicely for a game against Carlo Ancelotti's side in Miami.
Jose Mourinho was able to hand a start to Kevin De Bruyne, with the young Belgian recovered from the knee injury he sustained in Asia.
Marco van Ginkel started alongside Michael Essien as the two deep-lying midfielders, with Oscar and Eden Hazard, goalscorers on Thursday, retaining their places in the side. Demba Ba was chosen to lead the line.
There were some familiar faces in the AC Milan side, with the likes of Mario Balotelli and Nigel De Jong both starting.
With a place in the final of the tournament at stake, it was the Blues who started the more positive of the two sides, with a couple of opportunities carved out inside the opening three minutes.
Oscar was first to go close, firing just over the bar from the edge of the penalty area, and barely a minute later Branislav Ivanovic almost broke the deadlock with an audacious back-heel, only to be denied by a smart stop at the near-post by Christian Abbiati.
The Serbian defender had a second opportunity moments later when he climbed highest to meet an Oscar free-kick, but he could only manage to flash his header wide of Abbiati's right-hand post.
Ivanovic was having difficulty keeping out of the spotlight early on, and earned the first booking of the evening for a trip on Balotelli. The Italian side were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, but Balotelli crashed his strike against the wall and we were able to clear.
As the half progressed, Milan were beginning to get a foot-hold in the game, and it was developing into a decent contest.
Massimiliano Allegri's side had their first real sight of goal in the 26th minute and almost took the lead, but as Cech saved well low down from Sulley Muntari, Ivanovic was on hand to mop up the loose ball.
It was a wasted opportunity which Milan were made to pay for two minutes later when we went in front.
Hazard picked the ball up out wide on the left and drove at the retreating Italian defenders. With space opening up to his right, he spotted the run of De Bruyne and laid the ball into his path. The young winger had time to take a touch, but finished brilliantly first-time, firing into the back of the net via the foot of the post.
The two Belgians had started the game providing the width from either flank, and they were causing Milan plenty of problems with their pace and inventiveness in the final third.
Mourinho made seven changes at the break, with Mark Schwarzer, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Ramires, Juan Mata, Victor Moses and Fernando Torres all entering the action as the manager continued to give players the necessary number of minutes.
With Azpilicueta going off, Ivanovic shifted out to right-back, with Ramires slotting in alongside Van Ginkel in midfield. Moses took the place of De Bruyne wide on the right, with Mata replacing Oscar to play in a central role. Torres was the focal point of our attack with Ba the player making way.
Terry's impact was almost instant, with the defender volleying inches wide at the far-post from a Hazard corner, while Ramires was unable to connect with a Moses delivery soon after.
Much like the opening 45 minutes, it was the Blues looking far more dangerous from an attacking point of view, and Moses spurned a great chance to double our advantage when he blasted over from a tight angle, ignoring the call of an unmarked Torres inside the six-yard box.
Minutes later another chance went begging; Moses found Torres with a lovely pass, but as the Chelsea striker rolled the ball into the path of Mata, he could only fire straight at Abbiati.
Mourinho continued to make changes to personnel, replacing the impressive Van Ginkel with John Mikel Obi, and bringing on Schurrle, who had recovered from illness, at the expense of Hazard.
The chances continued to come for the Blues, who looked extremely dangerous on the break, but at 1-0 Milan were still very much in the game, and they almost equalised when Antonio Nocerino headed inches wide.
We continued to threaten, however, and Schurrle was unfortunate not to put the game to bed when he whipped his strike a fraction too high following good link-up play between Moses and Torres.
With so many opportunities coming our way, it was only a matter of time until one was taken, and it came right at the death.
As the clock ticked down, Victor Moses supplied a cross from the right-hand side which was finished in style by Schurrle, who opened his Chelsea account with a stunning volley to secure our place in the final.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c) (Schwarzer h/t); Azpilicueta (Terry h/t), Cahill, Ivanovic, Bertrand (Cole h/t); Essien (Ramires h/t), Van Ginkel (Mikel 65); De Bruyne (Moses h/t), Oscar (Mata h/t), Hazard (Schurrle 68); Ba (Torres h/t) (Lukaku 86).
Scorers De Bruyne 28, Schurrle 90+1
Booked Ivanovic 18
AC Milan (4-3-1-2): Abbiati; Antonini (Zaccardo h/t), Zapata (Constant 69), Silvestre (Pacifico 76), Emanuelson (Poli 69); Montolivo (c) (Nocerino 56), De Jong (Cristante 76), Muntari; Kevin-Prince Boateng (Kingsley Boateng 76); El Shaarawy (Niang 56), Balotelli (Petagna h/t).
Booked Antonini 41, Silvestre 67
Referee Jose Carlos Rivera