Sydney FC youngsters almost steal the show v English champs
FOOTBALL: All the talk before the game centred on Chelsea superstars Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and John Terry.
But it was Sydney FC youngsters Terry Antonis and Alex Gersbach who almost stole the show as the English champions clung on for a 1-0 win in front of 83,598 fans at ANZ Stadium.
It was $20 million star Loic Remy who lit up the massive crowd at the former Olympic venue, with a brilliant cut off his right foot, and a laser-like left-foot strike too good for Sky Blues goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic.
Janjetovic was outstanding at the back for the hosts, as were Antonis - who created some chances with his pinpoint passing game - and Gersbach.
Gersbach created an opportunity for Robert Stambolziev in the 27th minute with a brilliant run and pass, before Stambolziev blazed his shot over the bar.
The 18-year-old wonder kid also scrambled well at the back of the park, showing quick reflexes to clear a shot from Remy while looking at an open goal, off his line in the 67th minute.
Chelsea dominated the opening half, but the Sky Blues found their way back into the game after man of the match Diego Costa limped off the field with a slight Achilles problem, late in the first stanza.
And the Sydney-siders produced a stirring finish, falling desperately short of snaring a memorable equaliser.
Seb Ryall actually put the ball into the back of the net, but was pulled up for a handball off a corner in the 88th minute.
Then in the final seconds of added time George Blackwood just couldn't get his head to a cross in a thrilling finish to the blockbuster friendly.
Professional Footballers' Association player of the year for 2014/15, Hazard, had fans on the edge of their seats almost every time he touched the ball.
"We pressed and went for the equaliser right until the end, and Arnie (Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold) was hoping (Chelsea coach) Jose Mourinho would take off Hazard," Sky Blues captain Alex Brosque told Channel Seven.
"But that didn't happen right until the end.
"Guys like young Gersbach and Chris Naumoff, having games like they did tonight puts them in a good way for next season.
"We know what sort of player Terry (Antonis) is, and hopefully we can keep him injury-free next year."
Mourinho conceded his players were tired after their long and championship-winning season, and that they can finally enjoy some time off.
The attention now shifts to tonight's clash between the Brisbane Roar and Spanish aces Villarreal at Suncorp Stadium.