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Chelsea cruise past Maccabi Tel-Aviv

Chelsea 4-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Eden Hazard's missed penalty mattered not, goals from Willian, Oscar, Diego Costa and Cesc Fàbregas securing the points for the Blues.

Highlights: Chelsea 4-0 M. Tel-Aviv
  • Chelsea make emphatic start in Group G, beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv 4-0
  • Eden Hazard misses a penalty after just six minutes
  • Willian and Oscar – the latter from the spot – score before the interval
  • Diego Costa and Cesc Fàbregas secure only the Blues' second win this season
  • Next games: Maccabi v Dynamo Kyiv, Porto v Chelsea (29 September)

Chelsea brushed aside the challenge of Maccabi Tel-Aviv to put a smile back on Stamford Bridge after a difficult start to the season.

Eden Hazard's missed penalty after only six minutes suggested otherwise, but Willian soon had the hosts in front direct from a free-kick; from then on it was pretty plain sailing.

Chelsea were gifted a priceless opportunity to settle when Willian powered away in search of Loic Remy's pass and fell under the challenge of Predrag Rajković. Hazard, however, fired high into the stands.

Fàbregas on much-needed win

If Maccabi thought that meant it was going to be their night, they were soon set straight, Willian's free-kick finding its way into the far corner with Rajković reacting far too late. The Brazilian's night was soon over through injury, though, Diego Costa in on his place.

Some lackadaisical moments in defence offered the visitors a route back in, most notably in the 31st minute when Nikola Mitrović's curled free-kick picked out Eran Zahavi, who headed over.

Diego Costa, below-par domestically so far this term, came on with a point to prove. He was upended on the stroke of half-time – after a typically bulldozing run – and Oscar made no mistake from the spot.

Ruban Loftus-Cheek (centre) in action
Ruban Loftus-Cheek (centre) in action©AFP/Getty Images

Avraham Rikan's effort reminded Chelsea that it was not yet time to relax, though when Costa met Fàbregas's flighted pass with a sumptuous volley the points were secure. Fàbregas iced the cake with a simple tap-in 12 minutes from time.

Key player: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
To step into a struggling side shorn of some stellar names with such confidence is testament to this 19-year-old's pedigree. This was a display worthy of the Blues' usual holding midfielder, Nemanja Matić.

Loftus-Cheek: This is just the start

Team for Arsenal?
This Chelsea team contained six changes compared to the one beaten by Everton at the weekend. However, whether José Mourinho really has lost faith with the likes of Matić, Pedro Rodríguez and John Terry is another matter. Saying that, Loftus-Cheek surely did enough to warrant another start.

Diego Costa key
With concerns over his fitness and form, Diego Costa would have welcomed the opportunity to come on off the bench with only 23 minutes gone. His over-the-shoulder volley – his first UEFA Champions League goal for the club – was a sight to behold.

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©Getty Images