Zappacosta marked his first Chelsea start, and also his debut game at Stamford Bridge, with a superb strike after he won the ball on the right flank, raced forward and then delivered a powerful effort that hurtled into the far corner of the net.
The Italian later set up Michy Batshuayi for the striker’s second goal of the night as Chelsea ran out comfortable winners in their Group C clash against the Azerbaijani champions.
Afterwards, Zappacosta admitted his strike had been intended as a cross for either Batshuayi or Pedro, but Azpilicueta insisted that, regardless of his intentions, the end result was “perfect”.
Photo: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
When asked whether he thought Zappacosta meant to cross the ball instead of score a goal, Azpilicueta told Standard Sport: “I think so.
“But more than this, he got the ball from the wing, he dribbled well and he tried to cross – and it was a perfect shot.
“I’m happy for him. It was his first game at Stamford Bridge and to get that goal, for his confidence, it’s great.”
Conte oversaw the signing of Zappacosta from Torino on the final day of the summer transfer window, and last week insisted the Italian possessed the “right characteristics” to adapt to the demands of the English game.
And following Zappacosta’s impressive performance against Qarabag, Conte was full of praise for his new acquisition.
Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag | Antonio Conte press conference
The Chelsea manager said: “He played a really good game but now he has to continue to work to improve.
“For sure he knew very well my style of football and my idea of football. For this reason, I decided to start with him. He was prepared to play. He played very well.
“For him it was his first appearance at Stamford Bridge. It’s not easy to totally change your sporting life in one week, but the answer was very good. He has said he wanted to cross, but he scored and it’s important for us.”