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Chelsea X Maccabi Tel Aviv X:

Chelsea put aside slumping Premier League fortunes by beginning their Champions League campaign with a comfortable XXX win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Willian, Oscar and Diego Costa grabbed the goals as the hosts eased to three Group G points at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Chelsea headed into the fixture on the back of collecting just four points from their opening five Premier League fixtures this season.

Eden Hazard has come under scrutiny over that slump, and his night started in similarly frustrating fashion when he blazed a penalty way over the crossbar in the sixth minute.

The hosts responded strongly, with the impressive Willian opening the scoring before being withdrawn with a hamstring injury.

But his replacement quickly picked up the baton, Costa winning a penalty that Oscar converted before netting himself to finish the job.

Chelsea’s poor form did not have an immediate impact as they started impressively.

Cesc Fabregas freed Willian with a pin-point throughball, only for the winger to be brought down by onrushing goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.

Having been fortunate to avoid a red card, Rajkovic was thanking his luck again when Hazard missed the target. 

Undeterred, Chelsea continued to press forward and took the lead in the 15th minute.

Willian sent a perfect curling set-piece towards the back post and Rajkovic, stuck anticipating if somebody would touch it, could do little as the ball evaded everyone and flew into the top corner.

The Brazilian’s impressive display lasted just 23 minutes, however, as he was sustained a muscle problem.

And Chelsea were almost caught cold as the visitors spurned a glorious chance to equalise.

Nikola Mitrovic delivered a pin-point set-piece and the prolific Eran Zahavi could only head over Asmir Begovic’s crossbar.

That miss proved costly as the hosts were awarded another spot-kick  just before half-time, Costa going down easily under a challenge from former Chelsea man Tal Ben Haim. 

Oscar did not make the same mistake as Hazard when sending Rajkovic the wrong way.

The Premier League champions quickly picked up where they left off after the break, with Costa adding another in the 58th minute.

Oscar deserved much of the credit, his clever run meaning Fabregas’ cross found Costa, who hammered an unstoppable shot into the net.

Chelsea opted for a more controlled approach thereafter, knocking the ball around confidently in a manner that belied the pre-match talk of decline.

Wed 16 Sep, 2015
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