Our final pre-season fixture ended in stalemate as Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea side were held to a goalless draw by Lyon at Stamford Bridge, before the Blues won 5-4 on penalties, with the returning Eden Hazard scoring the decisive kick.
Sarri was able to provide some much-needed minutes for Gary Cahill, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud, their first of this pre-season, on a night when the two sides couldn’t be separated.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek started for the Blues and almost scored early on after combining well with Willian, who was also making his first start of pre-season, before the Brazilian went close with a well-taken free-kick.
Loftus-Cheek was then unlucky not to open the scoring early in the second half when he clipped the outside of the post following a wonderful turn to get away from his marker, and although there were half-chances at both ends, neither side was able to make the breakthrough.
With the penalty shoot-out level at 4-4, Rob Green, making his first appearance for the club, saved brilliantly from Pape Cheikh Diop, leaving Hazard to convert the winning kick.
Sarri made 11 changes to the side which started the Community Shield on Sunday. Marcin Bulka, impressive in pre-season so far, started in goal with Davide Zappacosta and Emerson selected as the two full-backs.
Danny Drinkwater, Loftus-Cheek and Tiemoue Bakayoko formed a midfield trio and up front it was Tammy Abraham selected to lead the line.
Having only returned to training yesterday following their involvement at the World Cup, Cahill, Kante, Hazard, Michy Batshuayi and Giroud were all named among the subs.
A lovely Loftus-Cheek flick set Emerson on his way down the left-hand side in the opening couple of minutes but the left-back’s cross dropped directly into the arms of Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes after taking a deflection.
Loftus-Cheek had started the game in positive fashion and after collecting a Willian pass just inside the Lyon half he drove forward at pace before playing a one-two with the Brazilian, although the midfielder, who was off balance, couldn’t get enough power behind his subsequent strike from a tight angle.
Ferland Mendy, the Lyon left-back, flashed a powerful effort inches wide as the visitors threatened for the first time and then it was Abraham’s turn to go close, the Chelsea striker heading just past the post from a Willian corner.
Emerson, Loftus-Cheek and Willian were linking up well down the left-hand side, and a lovely, one-touch passing combination between the three players ended with the ball being worked inside to Drinkwater, who tested Lopes from distance.
At the other end, an extremely youthful central-defensive pairing of Andreas Christensen and Ethan Ampadu were performing well, with the 17-year-old making a string of crucial blocks on the edge of our box, while Bulka made a fine save to deny former Manchester United attacker Memphis Depay just before the half-hour mark.
The French side should have taken the lead 12 minutes before half-time when Houssem Aouar, who had been put clean through by Depay, steered his shot a fraction wide of the far post, a lucky let-off for Sarri’s side.
With what proved to be the last action of the half, Willian went close to breaking the deadlock when a trademark free-kick of his was brilliantly saved by Lopes, who dived to his left to claw the ball away.
The Blues emerged for the second half unchanged and our first opportunity fell the way of Loftus-Cheek, who did superbly to collect a Davide Zappacosta pass and turn away from his marker in one movement, before lifting the ball over Lopes and against the outside of the post.
Just before the hour Sarri made his first changes of the evening, with the midfield trio of Bakayoko, Drinkwater and Loftus-Cheek making way. Kante, who had been given a wonderful ovation by the Lyon fans while warming up following his triumphant summer with the France national team, Jorginho and Ross Barkley were all introduced.
Two of the subs almost had an immediate impact on proceedings as Jorginho picked out Kante, operating in a slightly more advanced position than usual, with the Frenchman denied by the legs of Lopes.
Shortly afterwards there were further changes for the Blues as Hazard and Giroud were handed their first minutes of pre-season, with Lucas Piazon also coming on. Hazard’s introduction was greeted particularly enthusiastically by the Stamford Bridge faithful, and it was then the turn of the entire back four, as well as the goalkeeper to take on a new look. Rob Green, Cesar Azpilicueta, Cahill, Toni Rudiger and Marcos Alonso all entered the fray.
Cahill immediately did well to head a free-kick back across the face of the goal where Barkley saw his low drive charged down as we pressed for an opener but, as is often the case in the second half of pre-season fixtures, the sheer volume of substitutions for both sides played a part in disrupting the flow of the contest.
A trademark Hazard burst, which saw the Belgian ease past three defenders, was brought to a halt as he advanced into the box late on, meaning for the third occasion during this pre-season campaign our game was to be settled by penalties.
Both teams scored their first four kicks, with Jorginho, Barkley, Alonso and Azpilicueta on target for the Blues, before Green made a fine save to deny Diop. The decisive kick was then converted by Hazard, who calmly converted from the spot.
Now, the focus turns to the serious action, and Saturday's Premier League opener at Huddersfield.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Bulka (Green 72); Zappacosta (Azpilicueta 72), Christensen (Cahill 72), Ampadu (Rudiger 72), Emerson (Alonso 72); Bakayoko (Kante 58), Drinkwater (Jorginho 58), Loftus-Cheek (Barkley 58); Moses (Piazon 66), Abraham (Giroud 66), Willian (c) (Hazard 66).
Unused subs: Caballero, Collins, David Luiz, Fabregas, Pedro, Musonda, Hudson-Odoi, Batshuayi.
Lyon (4-3-3): Lopes;Dubois (Diop 66), Marcelo (c), Morel, Mendy; Tousar, Ndombele (Rafael 66), Aouar (Tete 79); Traore (Gouiri 86), Mariano (Terrier 65), Depay (Ferri 79).
Unused subs: Pereira, Solet, Gorgelin.
Referee Paul Tierney