There was no repeat of the Basel embarrassment for Chelsea, who bounced back from their Champions League opening day defeat with a comfortable 4-0 win over Steaua Bucharest. They were never put in difficulty by their Romanian hosts, and were deserving of their sizeable winning margin.
José Mourinho's looked dangerous from the off, and twice André Schürrle had shots on target blocked in quick succession in the opening five minutes. The German was arguably the game’s key protagonist in the first half and almost broke the deadlock again a few minutes later, though Steaua goalkeeper Ciprian Tătărușanu quickly came off his line to pluck Oscar’s through ball out of the air before Schürrle could bring it down.
However neither side dominated proceedings early on, with Steaua allowed possession in midfield. It took a quick counter-attack after 19 minutes for Chelsea to break the deadlock, with Schürrle finding space in behind Daniel Georgievski and playing a simple pass for substitute Samuel Eto’o -- thrown in on place of the injured Fernando Torres -- in the area. The Cameroonian scuffed his shot, though the onrushing Ramires broke into the area in time to stab the ball into the net for 1-0.
The goal prompted a Chelsea surge, exerting more pressure and pushing the hosts ever deeper. Eventually the Blues did manage to break through the Romanian ranks right on the stroke of halftime, when Juan Mata’s though ball found Eto’o in acres of space. His shot from inside the area was poor and was palmed away by Tătărușanu, though happily for Chelsea right into the path of defender Georgievski. His night, already made miserable by Schürrle’s incessant trickery, went from bad to worse, as he helplessly side-footed the ball into his own goal.
Steaua responded with a snapshot from outside the area courtesy of Nicolae Stanciu a minute later, though his shot harmlessly found the side-netting. Tellingly that was just about as close as they had come to scoring in the opening 45 minutes, having allowed Chelsea to cruise into a 2-0 advantage.
Things didn’t get any better in the second half, taking only ten minutes for Chelsea to add a third. Ramires netted his second of the evening after a slick counter-attacking move saw him slipped in by Oscar, before lashing the ball beyond Tătărușanu and into the top corner. It was almost immediately followed by a fourth, though Steaua’s blushes were spared by the woodwork alone -- Mata the unfortunate attacker.
Chelsea created several further good chances with Schürrle and Eto’o both failing to convert from inside the box. Steaua’s best opportunity was also a good one, though Petr Čech made a solid save from close-range on Stanciu, who proceeded to fire over from inside the box on the rebound. Eventually Frank Lampard did put the icing on the cake with a classic low shot from outside the box, the ball kissing the foot of the post before crossing the line for 4-0 in the last minute of normal time.
Steaua Bucharest starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tătărușanu; Iasmin Latovlevici, Florin Gardoș, Łukasz Szukała, Daniel Georgievski (; Lucian Filip, Alexandru Bourceanu; Cristian Tănase, Nicolae Stanciu, Adrian Popa (Leandro Tatu 45'); Federico Piovaccari (Pantelis Kapetanos 45').
Chelsea starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Petr Čech; Ashley Cole, John Terry, David Luiz, Branislav Ivanović; Ramires, Frank Lampard; André Schürrle, Juan Mata (Willian 80'), Oscar (Cesar Azpilicueta 78'); Fernando Torres (Samuel Eto'o 11').
Goals: Ramires 19' 55', Georgievski o.g. 44', Lampard 90'.