Qarabag 0-4 Chelsea: Blues into Champions League last 16 with easy victory
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 23/11/17 7:13am
Chelsea secured their spot in the last 16 of the Champions League as they cruised to a 4-0 victory against 10-man Qarabag on Wednesday.
The Blues needed to win at the Baku National Stadium to make it into the knockout rounds, and were aided by two penalties and a first-half sending off.
Qarabag captain Rashad Sadygov saw red in the 18th minute after pulling Willian's arm down in the box, before Eden Hazard converted from the spot. The Brazilian then added his own name to the scoresheet in the 36th minute after a well-worked goal from Chelsea.
Qarabag: Sehic (6), Medvedev (6), Sadigov (3), Agolli (5), Rzezniczak (5), Garayev (5), Michel (6), Madatov (6), Almeida de Oliveira (5), Guerrier (6), Ndlovu (6).
Subs used: Diniyev (5), Yunuszada (4), Quintana (n/a).
Chelsea: Courtois (6), Azpilicueta (7), Luiz (7), Rudiger (7), Zappacosta (7), Kante (7), Fabregas (7), Alonso (7), Willian (8), Hazard (8), Pedro (7).
Subs used: Cahill (5), Morata (6), Drinkwater (5).
Man of the match: Willian.
Willian was involved again as he won the second penalty when Gara Garayev pulled on his shirt in the box. It was Cesc Fabregas (73) who netted from the spot after being made to retake the penalty by the referee before Willian (85) rounded off proceedings with a superb volley.
Chelsea were given an early scare in the 14th minute as Qarabag rattled the crossbar. Mahir Madatov laid the ball off to the incoming Michel, but he could only find the upright with his scooped effort before Richard fired the rebound over the bar.
But four minutes later, and the hosts were reduced to 10 men as Sadygov pulled the arm of Willian in the box and sent him flying, with the referee instantly pointing to the spot and showing the defender a red card. After some delaying from the home side, Hazard converted the penalty low and hard past goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic.
Antonio Conte made four changes from Saturday with David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Willian and Pedro coming in for Gary Cahill, Andreas Christiensen, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata.
Chelsea doubled their lead in the 36th minute with some superb football. Willian picked out Hazard in the box, and the Belgian took a few strides before deftly flicking the ball back into the path of his team-mate. Willian then made no mistake in slotting the ball home to give Chelsea a healthy half-time lead.
It took 20 minutes of the second half for Chelsea to have a real chance for the third. N'Golo Kante sweetly played in Hazard down the left of the box and the Belgian went for goal, but Sehic made a superb fingertip save to deny him. The Blues did find the back of the net in the 70th minute, but Alvaro Morata - who had replaced Hazard - had his strike ruled out after the man who provided the cross for him, Cesar Azpilicueta, was judged to be offside.
But a minute later, and Chelsea were awarded another penalty as Garayev pulled on the shirt of Willian in the box, with the referee again pointing to the spot. Fabregas scored with his initial effort, but he was ordered to retake it after an encroachment into the area from Davide Zappacosta. Luckily, he also netted the second attempt, hammering it low into the bottom corner.
And it was Willian who rounded off his superb performance with an equally as impressive goal. After a layoff from Pedro in the middle of the park, the Brazilian took a few strides towards the top of the box before hitting a thunderous volley into the back of the net to seal Chelsea's path to the last 16.
- Chelsea have booked their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 14th time in their last 15 appearances in the competition.
- The Blues have kept four clean sheets in their last five games in all competitions, as many as in their previous 18.
3 - FK Qarabag are only the third team to pick up a red card in three consecutive Champions League games (also Bordeaux in 2000 and Juventus in 2001). Dismissed.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 22, 2017
- Eden Hazard has scored three goals in his last three Champions League appearances, as many as in his previous 19 combined.
- Cesc Fabregas became the fourth Spanish player to hit the 20-goal mark in the Champions League (also Raul 71, Fernando Morientes 33, Fernando Torres 20).
Man of the match - Willian
While Hazard was impressive during his 64 minutes, Willian was the man who had a hand in all four of Chelsea's goals on Wednesday. He won two penalties and scored the other two, proving to be more than a handful for the Qarabag defence.
The game also marked his 200th appearance for Chelsea in all competitions and he produced some real moments of quality as he continues to show his talent in the Blues squad.
Chelsea are next in action on Saturday evening when they travel to Liverpool in the Premier League. Qarabag also travel to second-place Zira in the Azerbaijan Premier League on Sunday.