By Trevor Haylett at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea FC made it three wins out of three UEFA Champions League Group H games with another convincing display, although they had to endure several worrying moments against a PFC CSKA Moskva side who now trail the English team by five points.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech was one of the most influential performers for Chelsea who took a 2-0 lead before the interval with headed goals from John Terry and Eidur Gudjohnsen. It may have left the home club's Russian owner Roman Abramovich - a fan of CSKA - with mixed feelings but there is no denying the strength of Chelsea's challenge for the knockout phase.
Chelsea had lost leading scorer Didier Drogba with a groin problem since Matchday 2 so Mateja Kezman made his first start in the competition. Wayne Bridge returned after injury with Ricardo Carvalho making way and William Gallas shifting over to central defence.
Semak steps in
The Portuguese defender's namesake, Brazilian midfield player Daniel Carvalho, was one of three changes for CSKA with striker Ivica Olic a serious loss after straining a thigh muscle. Sergey Semak took over in attack alongside Vágner Love, while Nigerian Chidi Odiah also came in.
CSKA began at a whirlwind pace, penning Chelsea back in the penalty area from the start and engineering several goal attempts. Love got in the first and was unlucky that his goalbound effort struck Terry lying prone on the ground, diverting it behind for a corner. A minute later Love showed good close control to hold the ball up before engaging with Carvalho. The latter's shot brushed the boot of Claude Makelele, causing Cech a problem at his near post but the goalkeeper was equal to it.
It was a flurry of dangerous activity around their goal that might have unnerved the home team. Having survived, they then went away and scored with a major assist from Cech's opposite number, Igor Akinfeev, who came for Frank Lampard's corner but only caught a hefty dose of embarrassment as the ball sailed over his head, Gudjohnsen nodding down for Terry to find the net.
The England defender might have helped himself to a hat-trick before the interval, shooting fractionally beyond the far post when Damien Duff's ball in from the left skidded right the way across the area. Then from Lampard's free-kick Terry's header was again just off target. Meanwhile, CSKA kept plugging away, frequently working themselves into good positions only to be foiled by swift covering tackles or by the reflexes of Cech.
The keeper went full length to deny Sergei Ignashevich, and when, following a corner, the ball bounced up off Gudjohnsen it demanded the sharpest of reactions; once more Cech was not found wanting. CSKA hardly deserved to go in one goal down so it was a shattering blow to concede a second just on the half-time whistle, Gudjohnsen drifting away from his marker to head in Duff's set-piece.
It was another example of Chelsea's ability to take their chances in Europe, a contrast to their domestic form where goals have been at a premium. CSKA could only envy them as their neat combinations helped them make progress towards the Chelsea penalty area where their hopes continued to founder.
Cech then pushed away a swerving drive from Evgeni Aldonin who was a consistent prompter at the heart of the Muscovites midfield. Chelsea had no need to do any forcing, such was their advantage in the game and the confidence they had in a defence which stood firm to the end.