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Holders out as six-goal Chelsea win in vain

Chelsea FC 6-1 FC Nordsjælland
The Blues' return to form was too little, too late as they became the first holders ever to bow out in the following season's group stage.

Holders out as six-goal Chelsea win in vain
Holders out as six-goal Chelsea win in vain ©UEFA.com

Seldom can a victory have been accompanied by so much despair. The Chelsea FC faithful may have continued to bellow out their "Champions of Europe" anthem but the harsh reality is that their defence ended here – or, more accurately, in Ukraine where Juventus secured Group E's other qualifying place.

It is the first time in their 11 UEFA Champions League campaigns that the London side have failed to get out of the group and, more ignominiously, they are the first winners of the competition to bow out so early. Goals from Fernando Torres (2), David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Juan Mata and Oscar ensured an emphatic sign-off but it could not lift the sense of disappointment and regret. Joshua John claimed FC Nordsjælland's solitary reply.

Three penalties made it an eventful first half. From the start Chelsea demonstrated their determination to add to Nordsjælland's deficit column in their debut campaign. The Danish visitors, already missing key defender Jores Okore, were further disrupted when Ivan Runje was taken off on a stretcher early on.

Torres's eagerness to get on the scoresheet was obvious as he darted into space time and again. Sometimes his desperation worked against him while fortune favoured Nicolai Stokholm as he cleared Victor Moses's cross against his own crossbar and away to safety. The first spot kick came as Cahill was adjudged to have handled Anders Christiansen's shot.

Stokholm stepped up and made it easy for Petr Čech to save. His example was followed by Eden Hazard after Cahill's header had struck the arm of Mikkel Beckmann, Jesper Hansen comfortably dealing with another poor attempt.

Hazard's blushes lasted only three minutes before Patrick Mtiliga's hand-to-ball was spotted following Mata's attempt. The responsibility fell to Luiz and he made no mistake with a high, venomous drive.

Torres's first came after Moses had picked him out and though he benefited from a lucky rebound off the goalkeeper, his second would be far more assured. As was John's reply to make it 2-1 immediately on the restart, seizing on a long pass and lifting the ball over Čech.

Chelsea continued to threaten with every attack, Cahill heading in a Mata free-kick, Torres profiting from Hazard's clever dash to the byline, Mata scoring at the second attempt and then substitute Oscar wrapping up proceedings near the end. But news of Juventus's goal at FC Shakhtar Donetsk had long since dampened the Stamford Bridge mood.

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