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April 28, 2017

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Chelsea draw with PSG, Terry gets a standing ovation

NEW YORK -- John Terry was given a standing ovation in the first match since his acquittal on racism charges as young forward Lucas Piazon scored in the 82nd minute to give European champion Chelsea a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday in the first soccer match game at new Yankee Stadium.

Nene scored in the 30th minute for PSG, which had the better of the friendly until Chelsea made large-scale substitutions.

Terry, the Chelsea captain, was given a standing ovation by Blues supporters when he entered in the 63rd minute. He was acquitted July 13 in London's Westminster Magistrates' Court of charges he racially abused Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match last October.

A matchup of two of the world's wealthiest clubs drew a crowd of 38,202 to the US$1.5 billion granite-and-limestone stadium, which opened in 2009.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti, hired last year after the Qatar Investment Authority bought the club, was up against the team that fired him as manager in May 2011.

PSG scored after Javier Pastore dribbled around a defender and sent a shot off Petr Cech's near post. The ball rebounded to Nene, whose shot went in off a leg of defender David Luiz.

Piazon, an 18-year-old Brazilian who has yet to play a competitive match for Chelsea, entered in the 65th and scored after exchanging passes with Ramires on a counterattack down the right flank.

Chelsea was rather listless in the first half of its second preseason match, but gained energy in the second half with the entry of Ashley Cole, Michael Essien and Florent Malouda, among others.

An overwhelming blue-clad, pro-Chelsea crowd made Yankee Stadium feel a bit like London's Stamford Bridge, with six sections of loud Blues supporters behind the first-base dugout, opposite five rows of PSG fans at the front of the left-field bleachers.

Chelsea fans hung the familiar "JT Captain, Leader, Legend" and "Born Is The King" banners from the back wall of the Legends Suite section behind the Yankees dugout.

Chelsea, winner of three Premier League titles since Roman Abramovich took control in 2003, has become a power with worldwide merchandising — even Blues mascot Stamford the Lion was on the sideline.

Partly in response to Chelsea's spending in the past decade, European soccer's governing body is phasing in Financial Fair Play rules, designed to prevent teams from operating at a huge loss.

PSG has joined the ranks of wealthy clubs in the past 1 1/2 years, this summer adding Ezequiel Lavezzi, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Of the three, only Lavezzi has appeared during the preseason.

Chelsea, with a relatively old squad, is in transition under manager Roberto Di Matteo, adding Eden Harzard and Marko Marin while losing Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Jose Boswinga following its surprise Champions League title and sixth-place EPL finish.

The field, a slightly narrow and short 110-by-70 yards, ran from the first-base dugout to the left-field wall in a stadium built to baseball's configurations, with most of the stands 20-30 yards from the field.

The infield dirt, basepaths and mound area were covered with grass, which will be removed before the Yankees return home to start a series against Boston on Friday.

Chelsea started just five players from their XI in the Champions League final and changed six starts from the 4-2 win at Seattle on Thursday that opened its preseason. Among the missing were Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Raul Meireles and Daniel Sturridge,

Chelsea plays the Major League Soccer All-Stars on Wednesday at Chester, Pennsylvania, and AC Milan at Miami on Saturday, then is at Brighton on Aug. 4 before meeting Premier League champion Manchester City in the Community Shield on Aug. 11 — a match moved from Wembley to Birmingham's Villa Park because of the London Olympics.

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