Chelsea 6-0 NK Maribor: Brilliant Blues hit Maribor for six

The Blues kept their unbeaten start to the Champions League group stages going, thanks a 6-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea FC
6 0
NK Maribor
Chelsea FC: (4-2-3-1) Cech; Ivanović, Zouma, Terry, Filipe Luís; Fàbregas (Aké 60'), Matić; Willian, Oscar (Solanke 73'), Hazard; Rémy (Drogba 16').
NK Maribor: (4-4-2) Handanovič; Stojanovič, Šuler, Rajčevič, Viler (Vršič 57'); Mejač, Mertejl, Filipović, Bohar; Ibraimi (Zahovič 68'), Tavares (Mendy 72').
SCORE: 1-0, Rémy 13'. 2-0, Drogba (P) 23'. 3-0, Terry 31'. 4-0, Viler (OG) 54'. 5-0, Hazard (P) 77'. 6-0, Hazard 90'.
REFEREE: Danny Makkelie (NED). Booked: None.

A masterful performance from Chelsea saw them take control of Group G, thanks to a 6-0 win over Maribor. Goals from Loïc Rémy, Didier Drogba, John Terry, Eden Hazard's brace and a Mitja Viler own-goal sent the Blues onto seven points after the opening three games.

Jose Mourinho made three changes to the side which beat Crystal Palace 1-2 at Selhurst Park, on Saturday. Petr Cech, Kurt Zouma and Filipe Luis came in for Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta. Maribor suffered their first defeat in nine games, as two own goals from Aleksander Rajčevič sent them down 2-1 at home to NK Celje. Manager Ante Šimundža made two changes to that team, with Luka Zahović and Dare Vršič making way for Aleš Mertejl and Aleš Mejač.

Somewhat surprisingly, the opening possession and exchanges were fairly even. Maribor were quick to counter, getting men forward at will, and when Mitja Viler crossed to Damjan Bohar, the midfielder headed just over Petr Cech's bar. Oscar was keen to show that the hosts meant business - and continue his own good form - but he had a penalty appeal was turned down, before sending a long-range drive wide of Jasmin Handanović's goal. However, Handanović could only keep parity for so long.

A pin-point through ball from John Terry picked out Loïc Rémy, who was in acres of space down the left-hand side. Cutting into the penalty box, he curled an excellent left-footed shot past the despairing dive of the Maribor custodian for his second Chelsea goal. A finish to match the cutting pass, neither were struck with venom yet both were placed to perfection. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, he felt a twinge in his groin and was instantaneously replaced by Didier Drogba.

Less than 10 minutes after the hosts got into the lead, they were given a penalty. The Slovenian champions felt hard done by, as Aleš Mertejl was adjudged to have handled; Danny Makkelie waved away the protests, despite a strong case being put forward. There was only one person who was going to take the spot-kick and it was exactly the same result as 2012, in the Allianz Arena; Didier Drogba duly notched up the first goal of his second spell at Stamford Bridge. A calm run up, followed by a powerful strike into the bottom left corner, sent Handanović the wrong way and Chelsea into a two goal lead. 

The goals were coming thick and fast for the home side, taking almost every chance that came their way. This time it was a quick counter-attack; Eden Hazard picked up Drogba's corner clearance and drove towards the Maribor defence. For all of 40 yards he toyed with the back-line, before passing off to the oncoming Cesc Fàbregas. The Spaniard drilled the ball across the face of goal and John Terry was there to stab the ball home. Despite being slightly offside, it was a gargantuan effort to stride up the full length of the pitch and equally as surprising to see the skipper sliding in at the back post.

Chelsea continued to turn the screw for the final fifteen minutes of the half, but couldn't add to their half-hour of destruction. Several chances fell their way, Hazard's shot, after some fine footwork, was comfortable for Handanović. Branislav Ivanović wasted a marvelous opportunity after the Maribor 'keeper spilt a cross, only for the defender to spoon the ball over the bar and almost into the second tier. A four-goal cushion, whilst harsh on the Slovenians, would not come before the half-time whistle and the Blues went in 3-0 up.

10 minutes into the second half, saw some determined wing-play earn Chelsea their fourth goal. Filipe Luís broke costless down the left and skipped inside, firing a ball into the 'corridor of uncertainty'. No Chelsea player could stab it home, Eden Hazard cut it back towards goal and the ball deflected off of Mitja Viler into his own net. There was no let up for the Maribor, who couldn't cope with the London club's quality - even it if was slightly fortunate. Some hopeful long range efforts flew in from Marcos Tavares and Bohar, but they were easily dealt with by Cech.

Maribor had an even better chance to get a consolation goal, when Nemanja Matić clumsily brought down Agim Ibraimi. The forward dusted himself down and took the penalty himself, his strike was clean but cannoned back off the post to safety. Like Viler, his error was his last contribution and he was replaced by 18-year-old Luka Zahović - son of Zlatko, Slovenia's all-time record goal-scorer - the Slovenian side's top goal-getter this term. Oscar went inches from making it five-nil, his curling effort going inches from being perfectly placed inside the far post.

The Brazilian had run his race and was replaced by 17-year-old Dom Solanke, his Chelsea debut. Oscar's countryman, Willian, went even closer than his national team-mate. After a few step-overs, he cut inside and smashed a shot off of the bar, as Handanović clawed at thin air. A fifth would soon follow, as Ivanovic went down extremely easily under Marko Šuler's challenge and Makkelie pointed to the spot. Probably the harshest of all the penalty calls, Eden Hazard didn't care and calmly converted the penalty for his first Champions League goal of the season.

The final 15 minutes were a non-event, but there was was one last moment to savour for the Stamford Bridge faithful. Eden Hazard dribbled his way through everyone before checking back and rifling past the Maribor 'keeper, he nearly had a third but that shot was straight at Handanović. That meant Chelsea topped the group on 7 points, with Schalke beating Sporting Lisbon 4-3, they laid claim to a two point cushion over their German counterparts. Maribor remain on two points and lie third in the group. The sides will meet again in two weeks time, as the Blues head to Slovenian's second city.