A late brace from Eden Hazard could not prevent Chelsea slumping to a 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid in their International Champions Cup clash in Ann Arbor.
First-half goals from Marcelo (two) and Mariano Diaz set a Madrid side missing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos on course for victory.
Antonio Conte’s men responded twice late on through Hazard but were unable to get an equaliser in front of a 105,826 crowd at the Michigan Stadium – the largest ever official attendance for a Chelsea match, according to the Blues.
Conte only made two changes to the side that beat Liverpool in midweek, with Oscar coming in for the suspended Cesc Fabregas and Pedro replacing Victor Moses, but the Blues were swept aside by the European champions in the first half.
After John Terry had failed to make the most of an early opportunity for Chelsea, it was virtually all Madrid for the remainder of the opening period.
Asmir Begovic was called on to make a number of saves but he was still beaten three times before the interval, with Madrid captain Marcelo opening the scoring with a shot that took a huge deflection off Oscar.
Marcelo made it 2-0 in the 26th minute before the Brazil full-back set up Mariano Diaz for Real’s third, the 22-year-old smashing a long-range strike past Begovic.
Chelsea, for whom new signing N’Golo Kante and injured striker Diego Costa did not feature, pulled a goal back with 10 minutes to go through second-half substitute Hazard.
The Belgian then netted his second in stoppage time following good work by another of the club’s summer signings, Michy Batshuayi, but Madrid held on for the win.
Press Association Sport