After a scary moment in the opening 10-15 minutes, Chelsea made easy work of Qarabag on Wednesday night, scoring two goals in each half to clinch a spot in the first knockout round of the Champions League with a game to spare. Eden Hazard continued his great form with a goal and an assist, but it was Willian who made even more telling contributions, scoring twice and winning two penalties on the night, the first of which change the entire momentum of the game.
Qarabag had already hit the post while at the other end Chelsea were struggling to break down the 10-men behind the ball, but an ill-advised last-man foul on Willian in the area by Qarabag captain Rashad Sadygov out Chelsea one up not just on the scoreboard but in terms of players on the pitch as well. It wasn’t the most obvious foul ever, but Willian insisted that there was a bit of contact (while Hazard simply said that Willian was “too fast”).
“A little bit of contact. For me it was a penalty - I don't think for you [media] guys it is, but for me it was a penalty."
There was no doubt about the second penalty, with the defender tugging back Willian’s shirt in clear view of the referee, while Willian’s second goal and Chelsea’s fourth was an absolute howitzer.
But it was Willian’s first goal that’s most worthy of repeat viewings, with Chelsea engineering a glorious team move between the three smalls playing up front and Fabregas, as ever, getting the move started.
One- or two-touch football all the way, from Fabregas to Pedro to Willian to Hazard and back to Willian for the well-placed finish. After the game, Hazard paid tribute to his excellent teammates who make things like that possible.
"We did everything well, apart from conceding the first chance when they hit the post. Maybe that would be different if that went in. We should have scored more.
“It is easy to play with these good players. We have a big game at Liverpool on Saturday so it was good to have a small rest. We are ready for Saturday.”
Hazard already thinking about Saturday and Liverpool. That’s what I like to see. Let’s keep this form and momentum going!