Chelsea recorded their biggest ever Champions League win against Maribor at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to take up a commanding position at the top of Group G. Goals from Loic Remy, Didier Drogba, John Terry, a brace from Eden Hazard and an own goal from Mitja Viler helped the Blues on their way. Remy was forced off with injury shortly after scoring, and he is now a doubt for the game against Manchester United on Sunday.
The Blues started the game with several changes from the weekend, with Filipe Luis replacing Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma coming in for Gary Cahill and Petr Cech replacing Thibaut Courtois. Despite those changes, the Blues got off to a great start through Remy, who was played in by John Terry. Remy ran off the last man, stopped and found the bottom left hand corner. He pulled up with a groin injury shortly after, and was replaced by Drogba.
Drogba got the second goal, as he went against Jose Mourinho’s orders and stepped up to take the penalty when Ales Mertelj was judged to have handled in the box. Drogba’s penalty was almost a carbon copy of his Champions League winning penalty in Munich.
The Blues went further ahead when they hit Maribor on the counter. Eden Hazard, who was in fantastic form throughout, picked up the ball and ran in at the visitors’ defence. Fabregas overlapped and picked the ball up, and squared it in for captain John Terry to poke home.
Just after half time Chelsea went further in front, when Hazard, who was desperately looking for a goal, forced an own goal. Filipe Luis sent a low cross in which evaded everyone in the box. Hazard picked the ball up on the right hand side and looked to pick out Didier Drogba, but his cross was deflected in off Viler. The Blues then had to survive a scare, when Agim Ibahimi missed a penalty. Ibahimi was brought down in the box by Matic, but his penalty hit the post and went wide.
Mourinho took off Oscar and Fabregas, and replaced them with youngsters Dom Solanke and Nathan Ake, and both slotted in seamlessly. The referee went on to give his third penalty of the match, with Branislav Ivanovic going down a little too easily in the box. Hazard finally got his goal from the spot, capping off a fantastic night for the Belgian.
But, the best was yet to come from Hazard, as he got on the end of a great ball from Nathan Ake, took the ball down beautifully and then twisted and turned between defenders before firing home. It was a fantastic goal, showing the ruthlessness that Hazard needs to step up to the next level.
Chelsea are now five points clear of third placed Maribor, and they could wrap up qualification for the next round with a win in their next Champions League game, which is away to Maribor in two weeks’ time.
LCN man of the match: Eden Hazard