Christian Pulisic returns, nearly scores as Chelsea edges Malmo 1-0

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USMNT star Christian Pulisic subbed into Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League visit to Malmo on Tuesday, playing 17 minutes.

The appearance was Pulisic’s first for Chelsea since he scored on Aug. 14 in the Blues’ Premier League season-opening win over Crystal Palace.

A coronavirus absence followed and Pulisic’s return to action was in a United States jersey in World Cup qualifiers against Canada and Honduras.

He was then injured by a hard foul early in the second half in Honduras and was forced off the pitch. Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said Pulisic kept hitting the same pain wall in his bid to return but clearly passed that point this week.

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Pulisic was busy from the moment he entered the match against Malmo, receiving the ball on the edge of the six with a man on his back. It led to a blocked shot.

The American finished with 14 touches, 11-of-11 passes, a tackle, and a key pass in his 17 minutes. He also danced around the keeper for the final play of the game but couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball to make it 2-0 in stoppage time.

Chelsea hosts Burnley in a return to Premier League action on Saturday before the USMNT meets Mexico and Jamaica in World Cup qualifiers the following week.

Chelsea’s goal came from Hakim Ziyech, with Callum Hudson-Odoi recording the assist.

The Blues pull into a tie with Juventus on nine points before Juve takes on Zenit Saint-Petersburg at 4pm. Zenit has three points and Malmo falls to 0-4.