Two goals from Ramires helped Chelsea to get their Champions League campaign back on track with a comfortable 4-0 win over Steaua Bucharest at the National Arena in Romania. After a shock home defeat to Basel on Matchday One, the pressure was on Chelsea to get the three points at a place where they had lost en route to claiming last season’s Europa League.
But there never looked like being a repeat of that outcome as Ramires scored 19 minutes in to ease Jose Mourinho’s pre-match tetchiness. An own goal followed from Daniel Georgievski just before half-time before a second from Ramires 10 minutes into the second period to effectively seal the win. In injury time Frank Lampard struck a fourth to add an extra emphatic ring to the score line.
Mourinho had walked out of a press conference in the buildup, in frustration at being questioned about his decision to omit Kevin de Bruyne from the squad following an injury to Eden Hazard. The three points will doubtless see him in better spirits, although an early injury to Fernando Torres will be a concern. The striker, who earlier on Tuesday escaped further punishment from the Football Association after a clash with Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen at the weekend, now maybe missing for the foreseeable future anyway after taking a knock to his knee.
Samuel Eto’o came onto replace the Spaniard on 11 minutes and played a somewhat unintentional part in the opening goal. Andre Schurrle, in for Hazard, crossed from the left to give Eto’o a chance to fire at goal, but instead he made limited contact although enough to help it on for Ramires to prod the ball home from five yards out.
There was the odd lapse from the visitors, but the crucial second goal arrived in the 44th minute. Juan Mata had done enough after coming on at half-time against Tottenham to earn a starting role in Romania and it was his pass on a fast-paced break away that sent Eto’o in the clear. The recent arrival from Anzhi Makhachkala again failed to get his first goal for his new club with his shot saved by Ciprian Tatarusanu but, running back, Georgievski knocked the ball into his own net.
Chelsea again caught Steaua out on the break for a third goal. Schurrle played the ball inside to Oscar, who intelligently laid a pass on for Ramires emerging at pace on the right side of the area and the Brazilian took a touch before firing inside the near post.
Mata and Oscar combined for the Spaniard to strike the woodwork before Steaua threatened to get a consolation goal. But it was Chelsea that struck late on. This time Eto’o went unchecked down the left before crossing to the back post for his former Anzhi teammate Willian. The Brazilian’s lay off was met by a customary clinical finish by Lampard from the edge of the box.
Chelsea next meet group leaders Schalke in three weeks’ time, while Steaua host Basel needing a win to keep their slim hopes of qualification alive.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.