Football Football

Remy stunner lifts Chelsea Down Under

Chelsea's Dominic Solanke (R) celebrates with teammate Loic Remy.
Chelsea’s Dominic Solanke (R) celebrates with teammate Loic Remy.

SYDNEY, June 2- English Premier League champions Chelsea dazzled a capacity crowd at the Sydney Olympic stadium Tuesday, with a spectacular Loic Remy strike delivering a 1-0 win over Sydney FC.

Team boss Jose Mourinho promised a committed performance in Chelsea’s first game in Australia for 41 years. And his team delivered with plenty of attacking zest and star playmaker Eden Hazard at the heart of the action in the friendly.

Frenchman Remy thundered home the winner in the 30th minute but was denied a second when his cracking effort was cleared off the line midway through the second half.

It was Chelsea’s final match of a season in which they finished eight points clear of 2014 Premier League champions Manchester City.

The game was watched by 83,598 fans, the biggest football crowd at the Olympic stadium since it was reconfigured after the 2000 Olympics.

The Sydney win also completed a two-match end-of-season tour, with Chelsea defeating the Thai All Stars 1-0 in Bangkok on the way to Australia.

It was Sydney’s second 1-0 loss to an English Premier League side in four days after going down to fellow Londoners Tottenham Hotspur before 71,549 fans at the Olympic stadium.

Hazard and Diego Garcia teased the Sydney defence with their splendid touch and movement in the opening stages, with the clever Spaniard almost finding the net in the sixth minute.

Costa wriggled free inside the area but goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic saved with his feet.

Frenchman Remy fired just wide after a slick lead-up from the mesmerising Hazard, before lashing home with a spectacular left-foot drive into the top left corner of the net in the 30th minute.

Sydney responded immediately, with Chris Naumoff forcing an instinctive save from Petr Cech before Branislav Ivanovic cleared Alex Brosque’s rebound effort off the line in a double reprieve for Chelsea.

Costa prompted another save from Janjetovic before he was subbed by Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the 40th minute.

Remy had another fierce volley headed off the goal-line by Sydney defender Alexander Gersbach in the 66th minute.

Sydney goalkeeper Janjetovic also beat away a stinging effort from Andreas Christensen late in the game.

Sydney had a couple of late chances to claim a draw against the English champions, with defender Seb Ryall having a goal disallowed for hand ball.

Australia’s Chelsea fans lapped up the chance to watch their heroes, who last played Down Under in 1974.