Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Chelsea make winning start

Second half goals from David Luiz and Juan Mata were enough for Chelsea to overcome a decent Bayern Leverkusen side in their Champions League opener.

For large spells of the game Chelsea were average and Leverkusen can feel slightly unfortunate not to leave Stamford Bridge with a point. Until Luiz opened the scoring the game was cagey and a drab affair, and with Manchester United up next in the league for  beaten 2008 Champions League finalists, Andre Villas-Boas's side will have to improve.

Both sides had early questionable goals disallowed, with Leverkusen the team with more reason to feel aggrieved as Omer Toprak's header was cancelled out for an apparent push on Chelsea's Florent Malouda. Whilst a combination of Fernando Torres's backheeled flick towards goals and Raul Merelies's attempt at guiding the ball home was disallowed as the latter's contribution was deemed to have interfered with play.

The only real other chances of note in a quiet first half saw Torres and Daniel Sturridge both thwarted by Leno in the Leverkusen goal.

After the break Leverkusen attacked with more threat and on his return to Stamford Bridge Michael Ballack nearly gave the 2002 finalists a surprise lead, however his one on one chance was saved well by Petr Cech, who otherwise had little to do.

With his side struggling to break down Leverkusen, Villas-Boas brought on Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard, and despite neither have a part in the opener, the goal arrived shortly after the duo's entry.

Luiz started and ended the move of the match to give his side the lead. After a surge into the German's half, Luiz found Ashley Cole who fed the ball into Torres whose first time lay-off was superbly curled in from the Brazilian centre half giving Leno no chance.

Moments later Mata nearly doubled the hosts lead, however he didn't have to wait long to register his second Chelsea goal. Torres did well to escape the challenge of Luiz Castro, and when he bore down on Reno in the Leverkusen goal, the Torres unselfishly squared for his Spanish compatriot who had the simplest of tasks to finish off with the goal gaping.

Elsewhere in Group E, the Belgain side Genk held Valencia to a goalless draw, meaning Chelsea topped the table after the opening round of games.

Chelsea's David Luiz
Luiz's curling effort opened the scoring for Chelsea.

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