Champions League

Rampant Chelsea hit Qarabag for six

2017-09-12 22:52
Pedro (Getty Images)

London - Chelsea made a swaggering start to their Champions League challenge as memorable strikes from Pedro and Davide Zappacosta inspired a 6-0 rout of Qarabag on Tuesday.

Antonio Conte's side were in businesslike mood against the minnows from Azerbaijan, with Pedro's long-range effort putting them ahead early on at Stamford Bridge.

Zappacosta was making his home debut for Chelsea after his deadline day move from Torino and he marked the occasion with his first goal for the club, a cross-shot that capped a lung-bursting run from the Italy right-back.

Cesar Azpilicueta, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi were all on the scoresheet in the second half to give Chelsea their joint biggest Champions League win.

Placed in a tricky group including Atletico Madrid and Roma, the English champions couldn't afford to slip up against a team of Qarabag's limited European pedigree.

Conte took a gamble by making five changes from Saturday's 2-1 win at Leicester City, resting David Luiz, Victor Moses, Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger and Alvaro Morata.

But Conte, whose switches were made with an eye on Sunday's Premier League clash against Arsenal, had no need to worry as Chelsea laid seige to the Qarabag goal before taking the lead in the fifth minute.

Willian's pass found Pedro unmarked on the edge of the penalty area and the Spain winger curled a fine first-time finish into the top corner.

Qarabag were the first club from Azerbaijan to play in the Champions League, having emerged from the ashes of their war-torn region to become one of the tournament's most unlikely success stories.

Chelsea had no intention of letting the minnows extend their romantic tale, pushing for a second goal that almost arrived when Willian forced Ibrahim Sehic to save.

When Conte's men doubled their lead in the 30th minute, it was laced with more than a slice of good fortune.

Taking possession deep inside his own half, Zappacosta embarked on a surge that took him clear of two Qarabag defenders and towards the visitors' area.

After looking up, seemingly to measure a cross from wide on the right flank, the Italian's whipped delivery instead caught out Sehic as it flashed into his net at the near post.

Whether he meant it or not, Zappacosta was quick to soak up the acclaim of the crowd.

Qarabag at last had a shot when Pedro Henrique brought Thibaut Courtois into action.

It was only a temporary respite and Chelsea put the result beyond doubt in the 55th minute.

Cesc Fabregas took Willian's pass and lofted a cross towards Azpilicueta, who glanced a clever header past Sehic from close-range.

Eden Hazard was cheered to the rafters when he came off the bench in the 57th minute, making just his second appearance for Chelsea this season after ankle surgery.

Willian hit the bar with a fierce strike and, with Qarabag growing more ragged by the minute, the hosts bagged their fourth in the 71st minute.

Capitalising on slack Qarabag defending, French midfielder Bakayoko grabbed his first Chelsea goal, slotting home from Hazard's cross.

Qarabag were so woeful at the back that even the shot-shy Batshuayi was able to fill his boots.

The Belgian forward struck in the 76th minute with a long-range drive, before Qarabag defender Maksim Medvedev deflected another Batshuayi effort into his own net.

Read more on:    qarabag  |  chelsea  |  champions league  |  pedro  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Spartak Moskva v Maribor, Otkrytiye Arena 19:00
Besiktas v Porto, Vodafone Stadyumu 19:00
Sevilla v Liverpool, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Manchester City v Feyenoord, Etihad Stadium 21:45
APOEL v Real Madrid, Neo GSP 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham Hotspur, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:45
Monaco v RB Leipzig, Stade Louis II. 21:45
Napoli v Shakhtar Donetsk, Stadio San Paolo 21:45
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Qarabag v Chelsea, Bakı Olimpiya Stadionu 19:00
CSKA Moskva v Benfica, VEB Arena 19:00
Juventus v Barcelona, Allianz Stadium 21:45
Sporting CP v Olympiakos Piraeus, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Atletico Madrid v Roma, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:45
PSG v Celtic, Parc des Princes 21:45
Basel v Manchester United, St. Jakob-Park 21:45
Anderlecht v Bayern Munchen, Stade Constant Vanden Stock 21:45
Tuesday, 05 December 2017
Bayern Munchen v PSG, Allianz-Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Sporting CP, Camp Nou 21:45
Celtic v Anderlecht, Celtic Park 21:45
Benfica v Basel, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 21:45
Manchester United v CSKA Moskva, Old Trafford 21:45
Olympiakos Piraeus v Juventus, Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki 21:45
Roma v Qarabag, Stadio Olimpico 21:45
Chelsea v Atletico Madrid, Stamford Bridge 21:45
Wednesday, 06 December 2017
Liverpool v Spartak Moskva, Anfield 21:45
Porto v Monaco, Estadio Do Dragao 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Maribor v Sevilla, Ljudski vrt 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:45
RB Leipzig v Besiktas, Red Bull Arena 21:45
Feyenoord v Napoli, Stadion Feijenoord 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v APOEL, Wembley Stadium 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.