Our second pre-season friendly ended all-square after Pedro's early goal was cancelled out by Inter Milan's Roberto Gagliardini, but it goes down as a Chelsea victory as we triumphed 5-4 on penalties in Nice.
The Blues started strongly and we had already gone close through Ross Barkley, as well as having a goal disallowed, when birthday boy Pedro, who turned 31 today, tapped into an empty net following great work by Alvaro Morata.
We undoubtedly had the better of the first with Callum Hudson-Odoi going close at the end of a flowing move, but Inter equalised early in the second half and that's how it stayed, despite Jorginho and Tammy Abraham threatening late on.
When it came down to penalties, all five Chelsea takers - Jorginho, Danny Drinkwater, Victor Moses, Abraham and Azpilicueta - were successful from the spot, and while Inter scored four times, Willy Caballero's save from Milan Skrinia ensured we came out on top.
Taking charge of his second game, Maurizio Sarri named the same starting line-up as he did in Perth on Monday, with Cesc Fabregas handed the captain’s armband in a 4-3-3 formation.
Polish youngster Marcin Bulka kept his place in goal with David Luiz and Ethan Ampadu partnering each other in central defence.
There was another start for new signing Jorginho while 17-year-old Hudson-Odoi and Pedro, scorer of the winner in Australia, were also selected.
Caballero, Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Toni Rudiger and Moses, who have all recently returned to training following their involvement at the World Cup were named among the subs, along with our latest acquisition Rob Green.
It was almost the perfect start for the Blues as Barkley, impressive against Perth Glory on Monday, was denied by the feet of Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic inside the opening two minutes after being well found by Morata.
Chelsea, wearing our away kit of yellow shirts, yellow shorts and blue socks for the first time, were playing some lovely pass-and-move football early on and three of our Spanish players looked to have combined for the opening goal. Fabregas’s header to Pedro was played back to the midfielder and his pinpoint cross was excellently headed into the roof of the net by Morata, only for the offside flag to go up against the striker.
Our early dominance was eventually rewarded after just eight minutes, and once again there was a Spanish feel to the goal.
Morata did superbly to first win the ball back inside the Inter penalty area before twisting and turning away from a couple of challenges. His left-footed cross was palmed away by Handanovic but the ball landed at the feet of Pedro who gratefully fired us in front.
After Marcos Alonso had curled a free-kick just over the bar we passed up a decent opportunity on the break to extend our advantage. Morata advanced towards goal before picking out the run of Pedro over on the right-hand side, but unfortunately the return pass was played slightly behind the striker and the chance was gone.
It took until the 20-minute mark for Inter to threaten as Antonio Candreva fired the ball across the face of goal but Mauro Icardi, the joint-top scorer in Serie A last season, was unable to divert it beyond Bulka.
The Italians should have drawn level 10 minutes before half-time when a fantastic opportunity went begging after Candreva had got away down the right. His pull-back was allowed to run by Icardi, who sensed Matteo Politano in a better position, but the attacker blasted his left-footed drive wide of Bulka’s right-hand post.
At the other end Alonso curled an effort just wide after a fine piece of play from Pedro, who took two Inter players out of the game with a delightful piece of skill before driving forward and finding his team-mate.
Sarri made four changes at the break, with Caballero, Azpilicueta, Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko coming on for Bulka, Zappacosta, Fabregas and Barkley respectively.
It took Inter just three minutes to draw level after the restart as a wayward Bakayoko pass was pounced upon, allowing Icardi to slip in Gagliardini who fired home from inside the area.
Inter were certainly offering more of an attacking threat than they had in the opening 45 minutes and Ampadu had to be alert to make a well-timed block to thwart substitute Lautaro Martinez as he looked to find the far corner.
David Luiz struck the wall with a dipping free-kick for the Blues who made five further changes, as is often the case in pre-season friendlies, shortly after the hour. Christensen and Rudiger replaced Ampadu and David Luiz in central defence, with Emerson Palmieri coming on at left-back for Alonso. Further forward, goalscorer Pedro made way for Moses and Abraham went on up front at the expense of Morata.
With 15 minutes left to play Drinkwater tried his luck from range and saw his well-hit strike fizz just past the post as we attempted to regain an advantage.
Hudson-Odoi then did brilliantly to skip beyond his man before standing a cross up to the back post where it was headed behind before Moses could get on the end of it.
The Blues had a couple of opportunities to take the lead late on. Handanovic made a fine save to deny Jorginho, whose defelected effort from 25 yards appeared to be going on, before Abraham was unable to convert from close range following good work by Lucas Piazon and Emerson.
Then it was down to penalties and after Caballero saved from Skriniar, Azpilicueta stepped forward to convert the winning kick, sealing a 5-4 triumph.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Bulka (Caballero h/t); Zappacosta (Azpilicueta h/t), Ampadu (Christensen 64), David Luiz (Rudiger 64), Alonso (Emerson 64), Fabregas (c) (Drinkwater h/t), Jorginho, Barkley (Bakayoko h/t), Pedro (Moses 64), Morata (Abraham 64), Hudson-Odoi (Piazon 82).
Scorer Pedro 8
Unused subs: Green, Musonda
Inter Milan (3-5-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij (Ranocchia 65), Skriniar; Candreva (Karamoh 65), Emmers (Lautaro h/t), Asamoah, Gagliardini, Dalbert (Salcedo 82); Politano, Icardi (c) (Roric 65).
Scorer Gagliardini 48
Booked D’Ambrosio 86
Unused subs: Nainggolan, Valero, Padelli, Berni, Dekic, Sala, Nolan, Zappa, Demirovic
Referee Nicolas Rainville
- Chelsea will be back playing in London next weekend, at Wembley for the Community Shield game versus Man City. There are a few tickets remaining priced £25, on general sale now.