It was far from an electric atmosphere at the Bridge for what always seemed likely to be a routine group game, but this was before Didier Drogba stepped onto the pitch. After a 6-0 thrashing, the men in blue proved once again why they are to be feared in the Champions League.
Chelsea are in control at the top of Group G, smoothly on course for a place in the last 16 of the Champions League. They are unbeaten in 12 games this season and have scored 33 goals.
A “Team Effort” is what Jose Mourinho termed the win, the blues managed to secure the win without the likes of the injured Costa, while Fillipe Luis was given game time before the upcoming Manchester United game, Courtois and Cahill were rested which allowed Cech and Zouma to showcase a new pairing in defence and by the looks of it, we seem well prepared for any defense related injuries, and hence it was all too easy for Jose Mourinho’s men at Stamford Bridge
Power, pace, penetration and precision was in abundance in the first half. After Damjan Bohar planted a header on the roof of the net for the Slovenians, it was all Chelsea – and it did not take them long to go in front. Loic Remy had hurt his groin scoring the first of the night, which saw Chelsea legend Drogba on the pitch, who was quick to open his account after returning to Chelsea with a penalty kick. They were breaking just as they like, the pace of Hazard, Oscar and Willian could not be matched by Maribor.The blues killed the game with three goals in the first half.
Loic Remy 13′
Terry’s smart pass from halfway cut open the Maribor defence and Remy timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap, cut inside Maribor’s Marko Suler and sweep a low shot into the far corner from the edge of the area. Remy had little time to celebrate as he immediately pulled up in discomfort and had to be replaced by Drogba moments later.
Drogba 23′ (Pen)
After the Dutch referee decided Ales Mertelj’s handball was deliberate and pointed towards the spot there was a certain roar at the bridge as Hazard gave Drogba the honor. Drogba stepped up to thump in the resulting spot-kick, sweeping the ball into the same corner as the penalty he scored to win the Champions League shoot-out against Bayern Munich in 2012. This was his 158th goal for Chelsea Football Club.
John Terry 31′
Chelsea had been defending a corner when a Drogba clearance sparked a counter-attack and Terry made a crucial 100 yard dash while Hazard carried the ball to the edge of the Maribor penalty area, rolled in Fabregas on the overlap and his low cross was met at the back-post by Terry and the home side scored a deserved third. Replays proved Terry was indeed offside, but the flag stayed down.
The second half belonged to Hazard with two consecutive goals. Eden Hazard was a treat to watch, and Chelsea were completely and utterly dictating the terms. The question was how ruthless can they be? Eden Hazard was a constant threat to the Maribor defence, as Chelsea began to show a level of dominance. Keeping Manchester United in mind Fabregas and Oscar were withdrawn to make way for young guns Nathan Ake and Dominic Solanki. Any hope Maribor had of fighting back was ended soon after when Viler diverted Hazard’s near-post shot into his own net, before Ibraimi swept a penalty against the post to sum up a miserable evening for the visitors.
Viler 54? (OG)
Fillipe Luis made an important run from the left and provided a zipping low cross, Hazard squandered another chance at the back-post as he reached but as he turned the ball back across goal, it was deflected into the net by Maribor left-back Mitja Viler.
Eden Hazard 77′ (PEN), 90?
Ivanovic went down under the challenge of Marko Suler and referee Danny Makkelie pointed to the spot for a third time. Hazard took the center stage as he rolled the ball into the net sending the keeper the wrong way and capping a fine overall display by expertly bringing Nathan Ake’s high ball under control and curling home.
NK Maribor were demolished by Mourinho’s blue machine. Chelsea’s remorseless bulldozer ground the hapless Slovenians into the dust. Maribor were not expected to be much of a challenge, but were brushed aside by a consummately professional performance. This was their biggest win in their 15 years of Champions League football.
Win in Slovenia in a fortnight and Chelsea are pretty much booked into the last 16. Chelsea takes a trip to a struggling Manchester United this weekend, a game where Mourinho’s mentor Louis Van Gaal will do all it takes to derail a trophy hungry Chelsea. The current Chelsea team is still coming together but knows where it intends to finish, as the masters of both England and Europe.
Edited By: Shashank Rai