Ziyech on target as Malmo make Chelsea battle for victory

Chelsea beat Malmo 1-0 in Sweden thanks to a Hakim Ziyech strike but an expected glut of goals never materialised against the defensive-minded hosts in Champions League Group H on Tuesday.

Chelsea, who hammered Malmo 4-0 when the sides met in London two weeks ago, remain second in the standings.

Sergio Pena, centre left, battles for the ball with Hakim Ziyech.Credit:AP

Malmo, who are yet to score in this year’s group stage, remain bottom without a point. The defeat was their fourth in four games and means they can no longer make the knockouts.

The Swedish champions and current league leaders frustrated their visitors in the opening 45 minutes as goalkeeper Johan Dahlin mixed up some superb saves with a few hair-raising spills as his side was forced to defend for long periods, but he kept his clean sheet intact until the break.

The goal finally came in the 56th minute as Callum Hudson-Odoi out-paced Franz Brorsson on the right and played a perfectly weighted pass across the face of goal for Ziyech to slam home.

“They made it hard for us, they played close together and closed off all the spaces. When they play well it’s hard to beat them,” Ziyech said.

Malmo keeper Dahlin couldn’t hide his disappointment as his side left empty-handed, despite putting in their best defensive performance of the group stage so far.

“I think that defensively it went well, we have a game-plan we followed, but they had a lot of chances. At the same time I think we should have had a little more luck with our chances and gotten something out of it,” he said.

Reuters

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