Match Report: Qarabag 0-4 Chelsea
Premier League champions Chelsea sealed a place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League when they thrashed Azerbaijan club Qarabag FK 4-0, away from home, on Wednesday night.
Manager Antonio Conte decided to reinstate defender David Luiz to the team, following their speculated fallout a couple weeks back, while Antonio Rudiger came into the line-up as well. The biggest surprise though was that star striker Alvaro Morata was benched for the night, with Eden Hazard assuming the duties of a false-nine, flanked by Pedro and Willian.
Qarabag were coming into the game on the back of two impressive results where they had managed to hold Atletico Madrid to draws both at home and away and they started off strongly as well. However, things went south when captain Rasad Sadiqov was sent off for fouling Chelsea’s Willian in the penalty area. Hazard duly converted from the spot to make it 1-0 after 21 minutes – his third strike in Europe this term.
Fifteen minutes later, the Belgian was in thick of the things once again, as he found Willian with a clever pass. The Brazilian winger made no mistake to double the Blues’ lead as Chelsea went into half-time with a two-goal advantage.
The pace of the game slowed down considerably post the break, with Chelsea’s eyes seemingly on the weekend’s Premier League fixture against Liverpool, but that did not stop them from adding more goals to their scoreline as midfielder Cesc Fabregas stepped up to convert another penalty in the 73rd minute, before Willian got his second of the night with five minutes left to play.
The result put Chelsea on top of Group C with 10 points, 2 points ahead of second-placed AS Roma and 4 above Atletico in 3rd position. The win confirmed their participation in the next stage of the competition.
The fans were certainly delighted with the big win and here’s how they reacted on Twitter:
Top stuff on to the Round of 16!! Love this club.
Lets cap off this week with a win against Liverpool.
Up the Chels!!
— Lav (@LavCFC) November 22, 2017
Willian with 2 goals and 2 assists pic.twitter.com/3JfTIhaG4a
— Blueboy (@mrEH98) November 22, 2017
Give Willian a 10 year extension contract ….
— Frank Lampard FC (@EnglishGunman) November 22, 2017
Blues Flying high in the sky
— HanziLBatz-Android Gameplay (@hanzilbatz) November 22, 2017