[Player Ratings] Chelsea 1-0 Steaua Bucharest: Ba Strike See’s Blues Finish Top
Demba Ba scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea beat Steaua Bucharest 1-0 to top Champions League Group E. Here are player ratings from the match.
Demba Ba scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea beat Steaua Bucharest 1-0 to top Champions League Group E.
Ba struck what proved to be the winning goal inside 10 minutes, despite a glut of chances at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho made seven changes to the side that lost at Stoke City on Saturday, with Ashley Cole returning after a seven game absence through injury. Mark Schwarzer also started in goal in a fixture that meant little to either side, with Chelsea’s qualification already guaranteed and Bucharest rooted to the bottom of the table.
Mourinho sought a response to the weekend defeat at the Britannia and everything seemed to be going to plan when Ba converted after 10 minutes. Oscar flicked the ball on from Willian’s corner and Ba was allowed to nick in for the opener.
The Blues should have been home and dry such was their early domination but chances went amiss, with David Luiz and Oscar going close before Branislav Ivanovic’s header was well saved by Ciprian Tatarusanu.
It was not all one-way traffic though and Bucharest could have levelled on a number of occasions. Chelsea’s defence took criticism from Mourinho for conceding six goals in consecutive Premier League games and Gabriel Iancu should have squared proceedings in the first half, fluffing his lines in a simple one-one-one with Schwarzer.
Considering the work had already been done long before this match, it would be harsh to be too critical of the Blues’ performance which was just lacking in finishing quality. Fringe players were given the chance to stake a claim, first-team regulars given the chance to rest and the Blues now find themselves as top seeds going into the draw for the knock-out stage of the competition.
Schwarzer- 7- the experienced keeper is a more than capable understudy for Cech and proved so here, showing confidence and communicating well with his defence. Will be glad to keep a clean sheet.
Cole- 6- did fine on his return following a rib injury. Perhaps a little cautious but dealt with the threat of Chipciu and with Iancu when he attacked down the right.
Terry- 7- generally solid display. Iancu got the better of the ageing defender on a couple of occasions but he will be glad to keep the sheet well and truly clean after conceding six in two games.
Luiz- 6- composed on the ball. Deserved a chance to play after Terry and Cahill’s poor displays recently but didn’t do enough to stake his claim.
Ivanovic- 6- went very close to adding a second goal with a strong header in the first half.
Mikel- 6- decent performance but did give the ball away just after Ba’s goal from which Iancu nearly capitalised.
Lampard- 7- went close to scoring with a volleyed effort. Helped calm the midfield when it looked over-run.
Willian- 6- a great opportunity to show Mourinho what he can do. Sadly the Brazilian failed to impress. Played his part with the corner for Ba’s goal.
Hazard- 6- we saw the Belgian illuminate the Stadium of Light last week with a glittering performance. Sadly we don’t quite see this form often enough. Was a danger throughout but failed to create for his team mates.
Oscar- 6- another quiet performance. Didn’t do anything wrong, which perhaps says more about his display then what he did do. Went close early on.
Ba- 7- did well to get in between defenders to score the only goal of the game. Scoring will do his confidence the world of good. A promising run out.
Ramires- 6- on for Mikel after 74 minutes. Showed good energy late on.
Schurrle- 7- replaced Oscar after 66 minutes. The German looked lively and his recent showings must mean he is close to being a regular in Mourinho’s side.
De Bruyne- 5- on for the last 10 minutes; didn’t make much of an impact.
Were you completely underwhelmed by Chelsea’s performance or was it exactly what you expected?…What does it mean to have Cole back in the side?…Should he start the next game or should Azpilicueta come back in for the league game against Crystal Palace?…Realistically, what are your hopes and expectations for the Champions League knock-out stages?…please leave your comments below…
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