Chelsea bounced back from their first defeat of the season to get a 3-1 victory over Sporting Lisbon at Stamford Bridge to round out their Champions League group campaign. With Chelsea having already secured top spot in Group G, Jose Mourinho gave rests to several players, but showed his desire to immediately get back to winning ways after a loss to Newcastle United by still fielding a lineup of considerable experience. And those selected delivered, with Cesc Fabregas’ penalty and a fine strike from one of the men to come into the side, Andre Schürrle, putting Chelsea two goals to the good before 16 minutes had been played.
Sporting needed a point to guarantee progressing with Chelsea to the last 16, but, although Jonathan Silva hit back just after halftime, John Obi Mikel scored a rare goal to make the result safe for the hosts. Coupled with Schalke’s win in Maribor, it means that Sporting have to settle for a place in the Europa League, with the German side, managed by former Chelsea player and coach Roberto di Matteo, moving on in the Champions League.
Chelsea were given the perfect start at Stamford Bridge just seven minutes in, when Sporting defender Ricardo Esgaio brought Filipe Luis down just inside the box with a tackle that the description of “clumsy” wouldn’t do justice. Fabregas took advantage and fired his penalty down the middle as Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio dove to his right.
Only eight minutes later Chelsea’s lead was doubled and they were already well on their way to victory. This time the hosts needed no help from their opponents, with Nemanja Matic striding forward and setting up Schürrle just outside the area to rifle a low shot into the corner of the net. The German almost had a second soon after, but this time saw his effort repelled by Patricio.
As well as Eden Hazard, Willian, Oscar, Thibaut Courtois and Branislav Ivanovic, Chelsea also began without John Terry. And some of the veteran captain’s leadership qualities were conspicuous by their absence to give Sporting a way back into the game five minutes after halftime. Filipe Luis was beaten too easily by winger Andre Carrillo and after three Chelsea players went to try and head away the cross, Silva was left completely free to fire past Petr Cech.
Sporting, though, couldn’t seize the momentum to get a point that would have sent them through, and only six minutes later Chelsea’s two-goal lead was restored. From Fabregas’ free-kick from the left, Gary Cahill’s header at the near post appeared to be heading for the net, but Mikel made sure from barely a yard out to get his first Champions League goal.