Chelsea wrapped up their pre-season tour of the United States on a high note by beating Barcelona in a shootout after their International Champions Cup match ended 2-2 on Tuesday.
Eden Hazard scored an exquisite opener for the English champions before the Spaniards hit back with two goals in the second half. Gary Cahill scored with a brave header late on to send the game to a shootout at FedEx Field in Washington.
“For a preparation match it was fantastic for us,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told Fox Sports. “It was a good pre-season game for us, I think (for) both teams and also for the public. You know, it’s a friendly, but when Barcelona face Chelsea, you want to win, it’s not a friendly.”
While European champions Barcelona do not start their La Liga title defense until Aug. 23, time is of the essence for Chelsea, who face Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday before their Premier League opener against Swansea on Aug. 8.
And with the Blues fielding the much stronger side to start Tuesday’s match, it took them barely nine minutes to open the scoring.
Belgian Hazard received the ball 40 yards from goal and dribbled past several Barcelona players before slotting a right-footed shot inside the near post from 12 yards.
Barcelona, playing without Lionel Messi and Neymar, who were rested from the tour, gathered themselves and began to dominate possession and it was the third member of their prolific trio, Luis Suarez, who leveled the score in the 52nd minute.
After Cesar Azpilicueta’s attempted headed clearance fell invitingly to the Uruguayan inside the box, Suarez shaped to shoot but instead let Chelsea defenders commit themselves before cleverly dinking the ball over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Defender Kurt Zouma made a valiant attempt to clear the ball but the referee decided it had crossed the line.
Barcelona went ahead 14 minutes later when Sandro cut in from the left and curled home a cracker with his right inside Courtois’ far post.
Chelsea tied it up in the 86th minute when Barcelona failed to deal with a free kick and Cahill sent a looping header into the net, receiving a bloody nose for his troubles and was immediately substituted.
Loic Remy converted the winning spot kick for Chelsea after Radamel Falcao, Victor Moses and Ramires also found the net.
Iniesta and Sandro were successful for Barcelona but Alen Halilovic and Gerard Pique missed from the spot.