Chelsea 4-0 Maccabi Tel Aviv: Six changes pay off for Mourinho [VIDEO]


Diego Costa scored his first Champions League goal for Chelsea as the beleaguered Barclays Premier League champions claimed a much-needed victory by thrashing Maccabi Tel Aviv at Stamford Bridge.

Willian, Oscar, with a penalty, Costa – on as a substitute after being omitted as one of six changes following the loss at Everton – and Cesc Fabregas scored as the Blues opened Group G with a 4-0 victory.

It was their their first home win of the season and second in all after a miserable start to the campaign which has sparked suggestions of a crisis.

Chelsea may be floundering domestically, but once again they lead the way for English clubs in Europe after Arsenal followed Manchester United and City in making a losing start.

Sterner tests await Jose Mourinho's side — first up the Gunners at Stamford Bridge on Saturday — but there were signs of improvement against albeit limited opposition.

Problems remain and Eden Hazard, in particular, still appears short of his effervescent best, blazing a sixth-minute penalty over, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek was among those who impressed after recovering from a yellow card in the opening minute.

SEE MORE: Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi scored from 50 yards out against Barcelona [VIDEO].

Mourinho said he knew what the consequences of changes would be — speculation of strained relationships — but he was planning alterations anyway against a side in the group stages for the first time in 11 years. Captain John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and Costa were omitted, with Baba Rahman among those drafted in, making his debut at left back.

Maccabi Tel Aviv advanced by beating Basel in the playoffs but never looked like emulating the Swiss side, who beat Chelsea home and away two years ago.

The Israeli team are managed by former Chelsea midfielder Slavisa Jokanovic, who last season led Watford to the Premier League and a 3-0 FA Cup third-round loss at Stamford Bridge.

Jokanovic was hoping for a tighter contest, but there were gaping holes in his side's defense from the start.

Mourinho was infuriated Predrag Rajkovic was not sent off for bringing down Willian for the first spot-kick, but luck was on the Blues' side as the Brazilian curled in a free-kick which evaded everyone. He later went off with a hamstring problem, with Costa coming on.

Goalkeeper Rajkovic might have conceded another penalty when Loftus-Cheek was brought down two minutes before the interval.

Pages 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Translate »