BBC pundit and former Everton midfielder Leon Osman was left in awe of Mateo Kovacic’s goal that put Chelsea on their way to a 2-1 victory against RB Salzburg.
Chelsea claimed three points in Austria to simultaneously qualify and top Group E of the Champions League last night thanks to goals from Kovacic and Kai Havertz.
The German clinched the winner with just less than half an hour to play with a sumptuous left-footed strike from outside the box, but it was the finish after 23 minutes from the Croatian, who cost the Londoners around £40m in 2019, that caught Osman’s eye.
“Well, that is a sensational finish by Kovacic at the edge of the penalty area. He hits it on the half-volley, it was good play all round by Chelsea.
“That is an unbelievable reaction from Kovacic to open his foot up and side foot it right into the top corner. The goalkeeper, pretty much on his knees can only watch it go in. What a wonderful finish to put Chelsea ahead,” the two-time England international said on BBC Radio 5Live.
Our thoughts on Osman’s comments and Kovacic’s performance…
However, the former Real Madrid workman has faired differently in the Champions League this season, an ever-present in the starting line-up in all five games so far this campaign, he picked up a deserved first goal of the season and only his fifth goal for the Blues in 197 games, incredible to think considering how he took his goal last night.
Via Statman Dave on Twitter, the Croatian beast recorded a pass accuracy of 86%, with four out of five completed long balls and one key pass from 56 touches in less than 70 minutes on the pitch, highlighting just how key to the Blues’ possession and creative play he was.
The 28-year-old was withdrawn prematurely, however, due to a calf knock and Potter will surely be hoping that it’s nothing serious as Kovacic can play a big part in the coming fixtures, starting with the manager’s former club, Brighton and Hove Albion, this weekend.