Chelsea dismantled Group E whipping boys Nordsjaelland and Fernando Torres broke his goal-scoring duck, but it wasn’t enough to see them through to the Last 16 of the Champions League.
The Blues knew prior to kick off that their Champions League fate was out of their hands, needing to beat Nordsjaelland themselves whilst hoping for a Shakhtar win over Juventus. Chelsea did their part by hammering the Danish Champions but in the end, Juventus prevailed 1-0 in Donetsk to send them crashing out of the competition.
Chelsea are now left with the unenviable statistic of becoming the first ever defending Champions to exit the competition at the group stages, and will now contest the Europa League.
Just seven months ago, Chelsea won the Champions League against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, and that victory must seem an age away now for their fans. Nordsjaelland, bottom of the Group with just one point, almost punctuated the Blues’ despair when they won a penalty after Gary Cahill was adjudged to have handled inside the area, but Petr Cech went the right way to keep out Nicolai Stokholm’s strike.
Proceedings would take an incredible twist moments later when yet another penalty was awarded, again for handball, but this time to the hosts. Mikkel Beckmann conceded, but it was Nordsjaelland keeper Jesper Hansen’s turn to turn hero as he kept out Eden Hazard.
Sensationally, a third penalty was awarded, a second to Chelsea, just ten minutes before halftime again for handball, with Nordsjaelland’s defence perhaps thinking they were playing basketball. David Luiz, back from suspension, stepped up and succeeded where Stockholm and Hazard failed to smash home for 1-0.
Misfiring Fernando Torres then grabbed Chelsea’s second moments before halftime to give the Blue’s a more assured lead at the interval, though the hosts endured a scare a minute after the restart when Joshua John scrambled home to haul the visitors back into the game, though it was to be short lived.
Gary Cahill got a rare goal as he restored the Blues’ two goal cushion with a header from a Mata cross, whilst Torres put Chelsea well out of sight with his second of the night after some brilliant play by Hazard in the buildup.
Mata and Oscar would go on to put a coating of gloss on proceedings to complete a Chelsea rout, and it was all superfluous in the end, but as news began to trickle into Stamford Bridge that Juventus had scored, reality began to set in for the home support, who will now be watching their side on Thursday nights.
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This article was first posted on December 5, 2012