Wednesday, December 10, 2014 11:01 pm
Jose Mourinho’s side had suffered their first defeat of the season at Newcastle on Saturday and they wasted little time erasing the bitter taste of that Premier League loss with a dominant display in their Group G finale at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues were already certain of qualifying for the last 16 as group winners, but Sporting needed a point to be sure of progressing in second place and they weren’t up to the task.
Cesc Fabregas opened the scoring with an early penalty and Andre Schurrle extended Chelsea’s lead.
Jonathan Silva reduced the deficit for Sporting in the second half, only for John Obi Mikel to net Chelsea’s third.
Sporting’s defeat, combined with Schalke’s win against Maribor, meant the Portuguese club were consigned to the Europa League as Chelsea did a big favour for their old boss Roberto di Matteo, who led the Blues to their first Champions League title in 2012 and is now in charge at Schalke.
With Chelsea already through, Mourinho was able to rest Eden Hazard, John Terry and Oscar among others, as he made six changes from the loss at Newcastle.
There was no opportunity for Diego Costa to indulge in some Christmas shopping, however, as Mourinho, concerned about the Chelsea striker’s spluttering displays following a series of injury problems, named his team’s leading scorer in what was still a strong starting line-up.
While Chelsea ostensibly had nothing to play for, losing to Newcastle had stung Mourinho and it was no surprise to see his players start as though they had a point to prove.
Filipe Luis was the catalyst for Chelsea’s eighth minute opener as the Brazilian left-back, finding himself in an advanced position, kept his composure to win a penalty with a clever nutmeg of Ricardo Esgaio that provoked a flustered trip from the embarrassed Sporting defender.
It was a clear foul and Fabregas stepped up to calmly stroke his spot-kick down the middle as Rui Patricio dived the wrong way.