Nordsjaelland 0 Chelsea 4: Lessons as Blues secure win in Copenhagen
Nordsjaelland 0 Chelsea 4: What lessons did we learn as the Blues secured a commanding win in Copenhagen?
Lampard stakes his claim
At 34 years old, it is inevitable that Frank Lampard is going to see less football as he edges towards the end of his career – and he had not started a game since the 2-2 draw with Juventus a fortnight ago. But the England midfielder, captaining the Blues in Copenhagen in the absence of John Terry, showed his class once again to set up Juan Mata’s opener in the 33rd minute and remind Roberto Di Matteo that his value is not necessarily diminishing with age. Nordsjaelland were caught dwindling on the ball at the back and Fernando Torres capitalised to steal possession and feed Lampard, who flicked a delicious first-time pass through to Mata, leaving the Spaniard to slot home a cool left-footed finish and hand the visitors the initiative. It was a brilliantly crafted goal and a lead Di Matteo’s men deserved. Asked if he had been frustrated at warming the bench in recent weeks after Tuesday night’s win, Lampard, ever the professional, said: “No. I’m very happy with the start of the season, playing in a team that’s playing very well and top of the league. There’s a fantastic squad here. I try to contribute when I play, do my best and be part of a performance like tonight.”
Not as one-sided as the scoreline suggests
Not one of Nordsjaelland’s players had ever played a minute of Champions League football before this season but the Danish side, who won their maiden Superliga title last term, put in a valiant performance and could quite easily have earned a point from this game had it not been for some wayward finishing and bad luck. The home side put a nervy start to the Group E tie behind them and strung together some impressive attacking moves throughout. Kasper Hjulmand’s men grew in confidence after the break and at times looked the most likely of the two teams to score the next goal, with Joshua John coming closest when his shot was superbly turned onto the post by Petr Cech midway through the second period. In the end, David Luiz’s free-kick opened the floodgates – but the home side can be proud of their performance during the bulk of this game.
Late goals finally secure the win
Chelsea were living dangerously as the second half unfolded and it took a sublime piece of set-piece mastery from Luiz to finally put the result beyond doubt in the 79th minute. The Brazilian hit a stunning free-kick from 25 yards that fizzed in off the left post, leaving goalkeeper Jesper Hansen as a bystander and underlining the defender’s attacking talent. Mata then added his second of the night three minutes later with a close-range finish. And Ramires added gloss to the scoreline in the 89th minute when he turned Oscar’s low cross into an empty net to cap a solid performance from the defending champions, but with a scoreline that probably flatters Di Matteo’s men.