Steaua Bucharest 0 Chelsea 4: Jose Mourinho in control again as Chelsea cruise to victory


Ramires-story_2689623bSteaua Bucharest 0 Chelsea 4: Jose Mourinho in control again as Chelsea cruise to victory
Read a full match report of the Champions League game between Steaua Bucharest and Chelsea at the National Arena, Romania, on Tuesday Oct 1, 2013.
After the dark clouds and dark moods and relentless downpour came the cleansing. Chelsea washed away the Romanian champions 4-0 to get their Champions League campaign back on track, having lost their opening tie at home to Basle. In doing so there was wave after wave of attack.

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“We have now cleansed a bit the early game against Basle and we are ready to win the group,” said Juan Mata, restored to the starting line-up, as Jose Mourinho had promised, and comfortable with it even if Chelsea’s most dominant forces were the rampant, relentless Ramires – with two goals – and Andre Schürrle.

Mourinho brought back one Spaniard, but lost another. That dark mood had enveloped the pre-match press conference although it now appears to have been for effect. Whether the Chelsea manager stormed out or not his relief at not losing Fernando Torres to a four-match ban – after the Football Association’s confusing declaration of no further punishment for scratching Jan Vertonghen – was tempered by injury to the striker after just 11 minutes on Tuesday night.

Torres will have a scan on his damaged knee on Wednesday and, if absent for any length of time, will curse his luck as for as brief as he appeared he once more looked sharper than he has done for years.

Chelsea, collectively, will also hope they are gaining an edge and there was satisfaction from their manager afterwards in not just the clean sheet and defensive ruggedness, praising David Luiz for “zero mistakes”, but the relentless way his team sought out further goals.

Any assessment of Chelsea’s display, however, needs to be qualified by the poverty of the opposition. Steaua, back in the Champions League after a five-year absence, were poor as they slumped to a second heavy loss and will struggle to gain a point in Group  E at this rate. Their fans were impressive – and they waved their flags throughout even if they also, eventually, lost heart with many streaming for the exits long before substitute Willian laid the ball back to Frank Lampard to strike a low shot in off the post late on to complete the rout.

The stadium roof was closed after days of constant heavy rain which threatened to engulf the pitch and the environs but it fell in the Romanians in any case. They were dominated and then destroyed. Their fans came in expectation – after all Steaua had beaten Chelsea last season in the Europa League in this very stadium even if they ultimately lost the tie.

There was no danger of a repeat. Soon after Schürrle should have scored – after an initial shot was spilled and the rebound returned to him only for his effort to be deflected there was another mis-hit. Again it came from the misfiring Samuel Eto’o, on for Torres.

Another break by Schürrle down the left, riding one challenge, teed up the subsitute. But his shot was scuffed but scuffed sufficiently to turn into a ball through which Ramires latched onto and deftly flicked beyond goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Chelsea’s advantage was deserved; their superiority clear with Schürrle a constant threat. Their only danger was complacency and a failure to clear left Petr Cech clawing away a cross while the goalkeeper then had to rush far out of his penalty area to deny Federico Piovaccari who was proving to be Steaua’s only significant threat. It made his half-time withdrawal all the more disappointing.

That threat was quickly snuffed, and it came through a bizarre own-goal. Maybe Steaua sensed a chance and over-committed but they were carved open with Eto’o suddenly running free on goal, cutting inside. The shot was palmed out but the hapless Daniel Georgievski, scampering back, turned it into the net – with aplomb to end any vestige of a contest.

Lampard’s miskick, from Mata’s cut-back, saved Steaua from falling further behind but it only delayed the inevitable as Chelsea worked the ball across goal through Schürrle again, with Oscar rolling a pass to Ramires who lashed the ball high and beyond the static Ciprian Tatarusanu.

A fine back-heel from Oscar then picked out Mata only for his shot to thud back against the post – which is what Cech then did as he back pedalled sharply to turn over Cristian Tanase’s clever chip only to jar his back.

There was no way back for Steaua. Cech saved from Nicolae Stanciu only for the Romanian to wastefully blaze over the rebound. Later he pushed out another shot from distance, again from Tanase. From the corner there was a scramble but still the ball would not go in. Steaua could gain no consolation.

Oscar shot over, Eto’o’s effort was beaten out, Schurrle curled narrowly wide and then, finally, Lampard struck with a trademark late run and crisp effort. The dousing was complete and Steaua were drenched.

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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