Abject Chelsea take deserved loss against Steaua Bucharest

Julian Finney

An outstretched Belgian foot brought the ball down. A lucky bounce led it to Yossi Benayoun, who took a touch before feeding it right back to Hazard. A cloud of buzzing red shirts followed the pass, but there's enough space to slip a return pass in, and suddenly Benayoun's free on goal. The rarely-seen midfielder pulls his foot back to fire home an equaliser...

And that was the only good moment of the match, as far as Chelsea were concerned. Unsurprisingly, it was a fleeting one -- Benayoun miscued the effort and although his shot was on target it was weak enough for Ciprian Tatarusanu to keep out. And Chelsea lost 1-0, because Ryan Bertrand had a whoopsie, getting himself twisted around on a cross from the right flank and dragging Raul Rusescu down in the penalty box. He dusted himself off and scored on the spot kick.

It's difficult to make heads or tails of what happened in this match. A 66 percent pass accuracy is a figure Stoke City would have been embarrassed by; the 46 percent possession making a mockery of Rafa Benitez's claims that the visitors 'controlled' the game.

Fernando Torres continued his transition into the world's most pitiable creature, but he wasn't the only one to have a nightmare. Eden Hazard looked incompetent; Benayoun useless. Oscar ran around in circles. The central midfield duo of John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard might as well have not taken the field, and the less said about the fullbacks the better.

Indeed, the only way I can sum up the display, one that puts us in a difficult position for the return leg at Stamford Bridge (and isn't exactly great, morale-wise, as preparation for Sunday's FA Cup match against Manchester United), is in animated .gif form. Hint: We're the squirrel.

Last May, this team won the European Cup.

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