Chelsea crushed Danish champions Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge but have to put up with third place in the group and dropping into the Europa League after Juventus won in Ukraine to knock them out of the Champions League. The Blues took a while to get going before goals from David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Juan Mata, Oscar and two from Fernando Torres.
Luiz was back in the side after missing the West Ham game due to suspension, replacing Branislav Ivanovic in the centre of defence with the Serb moving to right back and Cesar Azipilcueta dropped. Oriol Romeu came in for John Mikel Obi.
Things didn’t exactly get off to a flying start and the game was disrupted by an injury to Nordsjaelland’s Runje, who had to be stretched off.
Chelsea still had the better of proceedings though and Victor Moses found the target with a well struck volley on the far side which forced a save from ‘keeper Hansen. Chelsea threatened soon after through David Luiz before a speedy move saw Torres supply Mata and the midfielder crossed for Eden Hazard, who got a boot to the ball but saw his effort saved.
With the game still stuck at 0-0 it wasn’t looking good however and they desperately needed the breakthrough although the scoreless game in Donetsk wasn’t doing Chelsea any favours.
They almost got a lucky break when Moses squared the ball across goal and Stokholm stuck his leg out and cleared the cross onto his own bar. Luckily for him it bounced over the bar and he got away with it before his side had a big chance to rake the lead at the other end.
A shot from the visitors hit Cahill on the arm, and although the incident took place outside the box the referee, after a lengthy delay, pointed to the spot. Stokholm had narrowly failed to score at his own end and he failed to score again at Chelsea’s end. It wasn’t a great kick but Cech still did well to get down and push it away, preventing a scoreline that could have got nerves jangling.
Three minutes later and it was deja-vu at the other end as Cahill this time won Chelsea a penalty when his shot hit Beckmann on the arm. Hazard stepped up but his penalty was also poor and Hansen saved to keep the scores level.
Incredibly there was to be another spot-kick within five minutes and again it went Chelsea’s way although it looked soft. Mata’s shot hit Beckmann, again on the arm according to the referee, and this time Luiz took responsibility for taking it.
He took a long run up as he had done in Munich and blasted the ball into the top corner. Chelsea finally led and were now relying on Shakhtar to do them a favour.
Things got even better before the interval when Moses broke and played a well weighted ball ahead of Torres, who beat his man to pick it up. His initial shot hit the advancing Hansen but the rebound fell directly to him and he took the second attempt well to make it 2-0.
It was looking like job done at Stamford Bridge leaving Chelsea’s fate firmly in the hands of Shakhtar and Juventus but just 21 second into the second half the visitors were back in the game. Kasper Lorentzen sent a killer pass downfield and Joshua John got onto the end of it and raced past Ivanovic, who really should have done better, before lifting the ball over Cech to make it 2-1.
That could have made it a nervous second 45 minutes in South West London but thankfully the ever reliable Gary Cahill popped up at just the right time to ensure that didn’t happen. Mata swung an excellent free-kick into the box and the England centre-half rose and sent a looping header directly into the corner of the net.
Chelsea were looking much more comfortable now and things just got better and better in terms of the game itself. Within five minutes we- The European Champions had added a fourth goal and it came from a brilliant run from Eden Hazard, who stormed down the left and played a one-two with Torres, who poked the ball into the net to score his second of the night.
The only questions now were how many Chelsea could score and whether Shakhtar could take the lead against Juve. Unfortunately just after Mata made it 5-1 news began to filter through that the Italian side were in front with the help from Giovinco.
Mata’s goal was a good one, too, the Spaniard exchanging passes with Hazard before tucking the ball away on the second attempt after the first hit Hansen’s leg. Unfortunately it didn’t mean much due to the score in the other game and the sixth goal, which should have had the stadium in raptures was underwhelming in reality.
It was a good strike from Oscar with Mata again providing the assist, setting the Brazilian through and allowing him to send the keeper the wrong way and find the net with ease but it didn’t matter.
The pass was Mata’s last significant action of the night as he came off to be replaced by Paulo Ferreira as Luiz moved up into midfield. Chelsea probably should have had another penalty soon after when Torres was fouled in the box but the referee seemed unwilling to inflict any further punishment on the visitors. Oscar then had a drive at goal tipped over by Hansen although it was a relatively easy stop before Luiz sent a free-kick narrowly over the top.
Six goals were to be as good as it got though but due to the result in Ukraine Chelsea were out, dropping into the Europa League after poor performances earlier in the competition ultimately cost them.
“The game was out of our hands. I said before that we had to do our job and, as a manager, you have to be really pleased with the performance of the team. There were 32 attempts, 18 on target, six goals, a lot of clear chances, so you have to think about the positives after this performance.”
1) With 10 points and 16 goals scored, Chelsea are the best third placed team in the history of the Champions League.
2) Chelsea have scored more goals (16) than any other team in this season’s Champions League! Probably the first time such a team has crashed out at the group stage!
5) If we still had the goal difference rule applying in the Champions League, we were qualifying coolly, beating Shakthar by 2 goals.
- Cech: Juve results cost us (skysports.com)
- Chelsea routs Nordsjaelland 6-1 but exits Champs League (sports.inquirer.net)
- VIDEO: (All goals 6-1) Chelsea routs Nordsjaelland but exits CL (3news.co.nz)
- The Only Way is Europa: Chelsea crash out of Champions League despite thrashing Nordsjaelland (mirror.co.uk)
- Chelsea crash out of the Champions League (todayonline.com)