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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Alvaro Morata sets up goal in first Chelsea game but Bayern Munich hold firm for victory

A high-tempo contest between the champions of England and Germany, played out in Singapore, saw the Bavarians win a five-goal thriller.

Big-money signing Alvaro Morata grabbed an assist on his debut for Premier League champions Chelsea on Tuesday but was upstaged by two-goal Thomas Muller as Bayern Munich won 3-2 in Singapore.

The Spain international striker, who signed for Chelsea from Real Madrid in a deal reported to be worth up to £70 million (Dh335.6m) last week, climbed off the bench with about 30 minutes remaining of the exhibition match.

Morata made his mark soon after, flicking on a corner for Michy Batshuayi to finish and ensure a tight finish to a pre-season friendly that saw both sides close to full strength.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, whose side defended poorly in falling behind 3-0, praised Morata's "great will to fight" but said it was too early to judge his performance.

"He is a good buy, but it's right to give him the right time to adapt to our method, our idea of football," Conte said.

It was Germany international Muller, whose future has been rumoured to be in doubt after Bayern's loan signing of James Rodriguez, who was the outstanding player on the night. However, Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti insists Mueller is going nowhere.

"Thomas is very important because he is an intelligent player and is able to find space, to be ready," Ancelotti said.

"He was good also last year, he didn't score a lot of goals but his position on the pitch was always good. In this moment, he is more efficient close to the goal and this is important."

Playing in front of a crowd of over 48,000, it took Bundesliga champions Bayern just six minutes to score with Brazilian defender Rafinha rattling a 25-yard drive past Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who should have done better.

Bayern struck again six minutes later and this time winger Franck Ribery picked out the unmarked Muller with a deft chipped cross, and the forward volleyed home in acrobatic fashion.

With Chelsea struggling to find their rhythm and all at sea at the back, a moment of brilliance from Muller saw the Germans extend their lead, as he curled a shot past Courtois after surging through the centre for 3-0.

Chelsea's response came in first-half stoppage time as a Victor Moses cross found Marcos Alonso, and the defender drilled past Bayern goalkeeper Tom Starke.

* Agence France-Presse