Chelsea fired a warning to the rest of the Women's Super League with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Manchester City in the Women's Community Shield.
Millie Bright fired in a 30-yard stunner on 66 minutes to put Chelsea ahead before Erin Cuthbert made sure of the victory in the first minute of stoppage-time.
City had Jill Scott sent off just four minutes before Bright's opener and saw new signing Chloe Kelly hit the post and Janine Becker have a goal ruled out for offside in the first half.
But Chelsea took charge after the break and if it had not been for the woeful finishing of striker Sam Kerr, they would have been ahead long before Bright's superb long-range strike.
How Chelsea started the season in style
Chelsea carved open the City defence inside the first three minutes, only for Kerr to spurn the first of her many opportunities by sliding the ball under Ellie Roebuck and into the side-netting.
Georgia Stanway then stung the gloves of Katrin-Ann Berger with City's first effort on goal, before debutante Kelly beat four Chelsea players but opted to square the ball to Janine Beckie rather than shoot, and the offside flag went up as she slotted the ball into the empty net.
That was just before the half-hour mark and the game leapt into life shortly after as Kerr directed a header wide of the post after Ji So-Yun's free-kick deflected into her path.
Fran Kirby returned for the first time since November for Chelsea as Melanie Leupolz was handed a debut following her summer move. For City, US international Sam Mewis started on the bench but there were starts for new signing Chloe Kelly and youngster Esme Morgan.
City came close to making her pay just two minutes later as Stanway saw another fierce effort pushed away by Roebuck, with Kelly's follow-up striking the base of the post and bouncing clear.
Next it was Kerr's turn to miss another chance, failing to bend the ball into the far corner after shrugging off the attentions of Steph Houghton and bringing the ball into the box.
Chelsea moved up the gears after the break and saw Kerr spurn another glorious chance on 48 minutes, completely miskicking the ball as Fran Kirby laid it on a plate for her inside the penalty area.
Stanway did drag the ball wide for City after being played through before Kerr was again wasteful in front of goal, this time scuffing the ball wide of Roebuck's goal as she raced onto a ball through the middle.
Just after the hour mark, Scott flew into a tackle with the impressive Ji and was a touch late. Referee Rebecca Welch harshly judged it to be a yellow-card offence and Scott was given her marching orders for a second booking.
Frustrated at seeing her team-mates miss chances ahead of her, centre-back Bright decided to try her luck from 30-yards out and duly fired a dipping and swerving effort into the top corner beyond Roebuck - it was a goal worthy of the grand stage.
Chelsea were all over City for the remaining 24 minutes as Ji, Maren Mjelde and Beth England all missed chances.
But it was not until the 91st minute that they finally made the game safe as substitute Cuthbert pounced on a loose ball on the penalty spot and showed great composure to fire it into the top corner.
With the WSL beginning next week, the champions' performance will serve as a message of intent to their challengers.
Player of the match - Ji So-Yun
Chelsea's South Korean playmaker Ji was at the heart of the majority of Chelsea's attacks, always finding space in the middle of the park and picking out passes nobody else saw.
Like the rest of her team-mates, she was not always clinical when presented with a chance but looked incredibly sharp for the first game of the season.
Chelsea start their Women's Super League campaign with a trip to Manchester United next Sunday, while City travel to Aston Villa on Saturday.