A confident Chelsea overcame a depleted Barcelona side to win 2-1 on Tuesday in the opening game of the inaugural Rakuten Cup.

The friendly at Saitama Stadium was touted as the first-ever meeting between two European clubs in Japan when it was announced in March. But the announced crowd of 51,126 — around 10,000 below the former 2002 World Cup venue's capacity — rarely raised its collective voice during play.

While newly minted Barcelona star Antoine Griezmann did make his debut in the legendary red and blue uniform, the La Liga champion's squad list did not include Hiroki Abe, the Japanese striker who was signed to Barcelona B earlier this month and accompanied the team to Japan despite an injury.