European competition has offered Maurizio Sarri some respite. Chelsea may not have dazzled in southern Sweden, and a late concession has left the tie far more delicately balanced than they would have hoped. But, in the context of the wounds inflicted recently upon this team at Bournemouth and Manchester City, any victory away from home is to be cherished.
Malmö's late reward, taken neatly on the gallop by the impressive Anders Christiansen as he burst away from Mateo Kovacic to collect Markus Rosenberg's pass, will pep Swedish belief in next week's return leg. Yet Chelsea, with pressing domestic matters occupying their head coach's mind around this tie, will be confident of progressing. Sarri had trusted in his players' pedigree against opponents lacking in match sharpness and, had that last burst of adrenalin not yielded the locals their reward, it would have felt a job professionally done. As it is, Chelsea cannot relax quite yet.
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