The preseason is soon coming to a close, and clubs are taking one final swing at getting ready for the upcoming Premier League season that begins on August 11th.
All over the world, clubs are completing tours of countries in all different time zones. First up was Chelsea, who took on Inter Milan in Singapore as part of the International Champions Cup. The Italian side handed Chelsea its second defeat of the preseason with a 2-1 win thanks to a converted penalty by former Manchester City winger Stevan Jovetic and a second-half winner from Manchester United target Ivan Perisic.
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However, the spotlight in the match was stolen by a dazzling own-goal by Inter midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, who chipped his own goalkeeper from a good 40 yards out with 16 minutes remaining. Walled off by a high Chelsea press near the mid-line, Kondogbia took a pass from Cristian Ansaldi and, facing his own net, lofted a pass meant for goalkeeper Daniele Padelli. Instead, the pass sailed, and with Padelli well out of net, he was helpless as the ball fluttered into the top-left corner.
New Blues signing Alvaro Morata started up front next to Michy Batshuyai, while fellow newcomer Antonio Rudiger came on in the second half for his Chelsea debut.
Elsewhere, Arsenal topped Benfica 5-2 thanks to a pair of goals from Theo Walcott. The Gunners took on their Portuguese opponents in London on their home turf, and saw out a topsy-turvey game. Benfica winger Franco Cervi got a brace himself, although both goals came off deflections.
Olivier Giroud also got a 63rd minute goal, with the assist coming from 17-year-old Arsenal youth product Reiss Nelson, who had a fantastic game. Alex Iwobi joined the scoring in the 70th minute The fifth Gunners score came on an own-goal by Lisandro Lopez.
New signing Sead Kolasinac was in the starting lineup and also played quite well down the left, playing a significant role in Walcott’s second. Meanwhile, the big-money buy Alexandre Lacazette began the game on the bench but came on with 15 minutes to go.
Late replacement Dominic Solanke came on the field and scored just a few minutes in as Liverpool topped Hertha Berlin 3-0 in Germany. Philippe Coutinho, despite rumors linking him to Barcelona, started the match. Divock Origi was also slated to start, but picked up an injury in warmups and was yanked for Solanke before kickoff.
The Reds new boy, who moved from Chelsea on a free transfer, looped a header over Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein in the 15th minute. Giorginio Wijnaldum doubled the Reds lead with a calm, easy finish past the half-hour mark.
Mass substitutions at halftime included new signing Mohamed Salah, who continued his stellar preseason with the game’s best goal, coming in the 61st minute. Coutinho delivered a stunning long-ball from Liverpool’s own half over the top of the defense, and Salah latched on, finishing expertly with a wonderful chip.
Leicester City was downed by Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 on a goal by former Benfica and Monaco attacker Ivan Cavaleiro just a tick before the hour mark. The Foxes trotted out a strong side that featured all the regulars, including Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy, Kasper Schmeichel, and Danny Drinkwater, but were nonetheless held scoreless.
Bournemouth topped Championship side Queens Park Rangers 1-0 thanks to a goal from Jordon Ibe in the 41st minute. The former Liverpool man struggled mightily last season, but has clearly begun his preparations for the new campaign in style.
Newcastle lost to FC Mainz 2-1 thanks to a late goal from Viktor Fisher just six minutes before the final whistle. Newcastle’s 65th minute oddity had cancelled out a 5th minute opener by Levin Oztunali. The Magpies’ goal was a weird one that came after a failed Mainz clearance and a massive deflection after Jesus Gamez’s 20-yard shot.
Later tonight, Manchester City will take on Tottenham in the International Champions Cup in Nashville, Tennessee.