LONDON, Sporting Alert – Chelsea rebounded from an early penalty miss to cruise past Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 in their Champions League Group G opener on Wednesday.
Willian, Oscar, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas were the goalscorers on the day for the home side.
The English Premier League started brightly and were rewarded with a penalty, but star attacker Eden Hazard made a meal of the spot-kick.
The Blues, who have been struggling to find its best form this season, were gifted with the penalty kick in the opening minutes of the contest after Willian was charged down by goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic in the box.
However, Hazard blasted the resulting spot kick over the crossbar – squandering a glorious opportunity to give the home side the lead in the early goings.
It was the third time Hazard has failed to score from the spot from his six Champions League penalty attempts.
“I am in shock,” former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas said on BBC 5 live. “That’s just so unlike Eden Hazard. He usually just passes it into the net.”
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was no doubt very disappointed with the effort from Hazard, but he wasted time little in encouraging his superstar to keep trying.
Mourinho also believed Maccabi Tel Aviv goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic, who only received a yellow card for his poor challenge, should have been sent off as Willian, who skipped around the charging shot-stopper, and was well on his way towards scoring.
Chelsea continued to push and were rewarded with the opener when Willian’s free-kick beat everyone, including the goalkeeper and found its way into the back of the net in the 15th minute.
However, the Brazilian winger was substituted moments later because of a hamstring injury.
His replacement Diego Costa was then bundled over inside the box by Tal Ben Haim and Oscar stepped up this time to send the keeper the wrong way.
Chelsea took a 2-0 lead into the halftime break.
After the interval, Costa and Fabregas added their name to the scoresheet and gave Mourinho’s side a much-needed victory.
The other English Premier League side in action on Wednesday, Arsenal, fell 2-1 to Dinamo Zagreb on the road.
Victory for the Croatian side was the first against English opponents in the last seven attempts.
Arsenal were also reduced to 10 players after striker Olivier Giroud was sent off in the 40th minute after picking up two yellow cards.