Mason Mount stunner hands Blues win in Las Vegas after Reece James’ embarrassing own goal
MASON MOUNT scored a peach of a goal in Las Vegas to spare the blushes of pal Reece James after his comical own goal.
In the Blues’ opening clash of pre-season against Mexican outfit Club America, a poor first half was followed by a Timo Werner strike just after the break.
However, defender James – fresh off the bench – was left red-faced on the hour mark as his over-hit pass-back caught out Marcus Bettinelli on his own line.
Mount – another half time sub – picked up the pieces and curled an effort into the bottom corner with seven minutes remaining.
Boss Thomas Tuchel picked a relatively strong line-up, but may have angered some of the travelling fans with two notable absences.
Summer signings Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly – for a combined total of £85m – were not named in the squad.
Sterling had arrived in Los Angeles – their first pit-stop in the States – on Tuesday night after completing a medical in London following the 27-year-old’s move from Manchester City.
Koulibaly, 31, also flew out after a medical, this time to Las Vegas, on Friday night – but neither were deemed ready enough to be included on the bench.
Normal starter in goal Edouard Mendy also sat this one out, as well as Billy Gilmour, while the injured Armando Broja was not risked.
Kepa started in goal, Conor Gallagher was paired with Ross Barkley in midfield with Kai Havertz leading the line.
Ben Chilwell made his first appearance in a Chelsea shirt for eight months after a knee injury he suffered in November last year.
Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta, Reece James, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Michy Batshuayi and Werner were among those on the bench.
Club America came into this one having already started their domestic league campaign, winning one of their opening three games.
Hakim Ziyech had an early free-kick well-saved by veteran Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, but that was a rare moment in a half lacking any quality.
Brazilian winger Kenedy, who has made one Premier League appearance in his last five years as a Blues player, was especially poor in a make-shift wing-back position.
Yet he sprung into life in the 23rd minute with a whipped effort that grazed the post before Club America went close with a similar effort.
Gallagher’s interception then saw him play in Havertz only for the German to fluff his shot over the bar, and Thiago Silva’s header was tipped over by Ochoa.
Tuchel made the full 11 changes for the second half, including the introduction of Jorginho and Emerson, despite the fact they were not originally named on the subs bench.
With Emerson played as an unorthodox central defender, Jorginho and Pulisic made instant impacts with a shot each on target in the opening few minutes.
In the 55th minute, Jorginho then found James out wide, whose cross was bundled home by Werner at the second attempt.
Yet five minutes later, James went from hero to zero as his pass-back under no pressure dribbled over the line.
Chelsea pushed for a winner to no avail, with Pulisic coming closest through a wayward header.
Up next for Tuchel’s men is a clash against Charlotte FC on Wednesday before facing Arsenal in Orlando on Saturday.
TEAM (3-4-3) Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Sarr; Hudson-Odoi, Barkley, Gallagher, Chilwell; Ziyech, Havertz, Kenedy
SUBS: Bettinelli, Alonso, Ampadu, Azpilicueta, James, Mount, Pulisic, Batshuayi, Werner, Jorginho, Emerson
MISSING: Mendy, Koulibaly, Sterling, Gilmour, Broja
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