Steaua Bucharest 0 Chelsea 4
Chelsea cruised to their first European win this season with a four goal victory over Steaua Bucharest in the Romanian capital. A brace from Ramires along with an own goal and a late strike from Frank Lampard got the Blues off the mark after their defeat against Basel two weeks ago.
Juan Mata started after his lengthy absence from the side while Fernando Torres kept his place upfront, with Andre Schurrle also remaining in the side.
Chelsea got off to a bright start and Schurrle created an early opening when he broke down the flank and got the ball to Mata. The Spaniard had no room to do anything with it however so he turned and laid it back to the midfielder who cracked an effort at goal which hit a defender on its way to goal and was cleared to safety.
After just ten minutes however, Chelsea suffered a blow when Torres was forced to come off with a knee injury after just ten minutes, with Samuel Eto’o coming on in his place.
The Cameroonian was involved when Chelsea took the lead nine minutes later, after a Schurrle break. The German found him in the centre and although the ball was cleared by a Steaua defender it fell to Ramires and he poked it home to make it 1-0 to his side.
The visitors were good value for their lead and could have had another soon after thanks to the influential Mata. He first chipped a ball over the top for Oscar which almost set the Brazilian through on goal before he had a dig at goal which the keeper saved.
The hosts were finding it hard to create anything of note with most of their play getting bogged down in midfield and whenever one decent cross did come in it was no trouble for Petr Cech.
It was looking like it would be 1-0 at half time although Chelsea had played better than that one goal scoreline suggested. With two minutes to go until the break though they got the second goal that they deserved. Mata was again involved and he set Eto’o up with a good ball. The striker should have scored but the Steaua keeper did enough to save. Agonisingly for him however the ball bounced out and struck Georgievski who was helpless as it went into his own net.
A solid half for Chelsea had given them a reasonably comfortable lead but there was still plenty of work to go at a ground where they lost last season. Thankfully, they grabbed the third goal which killed the game within ten minutes of the re-start. The impressive Schurrle stormed down the left and found Oscar who then laid the ball off to Ramires and he smashed home to put the nail in Steaua’s coffin.
From that moment on, it was all Chelsea as Mata hit the post although there were moments for Steaua, particularly when Tanase tried to chip Cech, who was forced to back-peddle and tip the ball over the bar.
Stanicu made Cech pull off a relatively comfortable save after Schurrle had a go at the other end before Eto’o went close in the search for his first Chelsea goal. His effort was from a tight angle but at least managed to produce a save from the keeper.
César Azpilicueta and Willian were introduced as Chelsea looked to keep some legs fresh ahead of the trip to Norwich on Sunday. Both players injected some life into the end of proceedings and continued to stretch the hosts, their introduction eventually leading to the final goal of the game.
It was the last minute when Eto’o found Willian on the far side of the box and our most expensive summer signing selflessly laid the ball back to Frank Lampard, who came running onto the ball and scored a trademark effort from the edge of the box.
It was the icing on the cake on a good evening for the Blues who are now off the mark and ready for a big double header coming up against Schalke.
Chelsea; Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar (Azpilicueta 78), Mata (Willian 80), Schurrle, Torres (Eto’o 11)
Unused subs; Schwarzer, Cahill, Mikel, Ba
Scorers; Ramires 19, 55, Georgievski og 44, Lampard 89
Booked; Lampard, Cole
Referee; C Velasco Carballo