Chelsea vs. Steaua Bucharest: Final score 1-0, Blues labour to a win to top group

Paul Gilham

Chelsea dominated their game against Steaua Bucharest, but could only get a 1-0 win to show for it. No matter, as that leaves José Mourinho's men top of their group.

Chelsea secured a 1-0 win to secure first place in their group as they beat Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge, and although the visitors never really looked like threatening, the Blues should have scored far more.

Demba Ba scored from a corner early on to put Chelsea into the lead as they looked like running riot in front of their fans, but lethargy and profligacy combined to result in a narrow win.

Chelsea's start suggested they were in the mood, as they put the Steaua goal under severe pressure in the opening minutes. David Luiz went close from a corner after Oscar flashed a fierce drive just wide after breaking free, and the gulf in quality between the two sides was immediately evident.

It was no surprise that the breakthrough was made just afterwards, as Oscar flicked on a corner for Demba Ba, whose finish was deflected in off Daniel Georgievski to put the Blues in the lead early on.

Yet instead of opening the floodgates, the goal seemed to wake Steaua up a bit. The Romanians almost equalized soon after through the young winger Gabriel Iancu, who broke clear of a ponderous Chelsea backline but missed a huge chance as he dragged his shot wide of both Mark Schwarzer and the goal.

Chelsea were still threatening from set-pieces, however, and Tatarasanu had to be at his best to keep out an effort from Branislav Ivanovic, clawing his flick away to prevent the hosts from doubling their advantage. Further corners did not make the Steaua defense look any more secure, with Ba going close to scoring from an attempted overhead kick from one.

Frank Lampard attempted to get in on the action too, but drove one half-chance over the bar and dragged a tame effort well wide shortly afterwards. That proved to be all there was for the first half, with Steaua both fortunate to only be a goal behind and at the same time ruing Iancu's bad miss.

Ba ought to have got a second for Chelsea right after the second half began, after being teed up by fine play from Eden Hazard and then Willian, but he blazed his shot over from just 6 yards out. Andre Schurrle would go close too, showing some fine trickery to get past two defenders and send in a dangerous cross, but Hazard could not get over the ball to head on target.

Chelsea continued to stream forwards, but could not find another way through. Not that Steaua had much else in the locker either, as the visitors did not come close to threatening all game save for Iancu's missed sitter early in the first half. After a couple of scares, Chelsea have ended up topping their group fairly comfortably, and José Mourinho's men are likely to have far easier competition going into the first knockout round.

Chelsea: Schwarzer; Ivanovic, D Luiz, Terry, Cole; Mikel (Ramires 74'), Lampard; Willian (De Bruyne 80'), Oscar (Schurrle 67'), Hazard; Ba.

Goals: Ba (10)

Steaua: Tatarusanu, Szukala, Gardos, Latovievici, Georgievski, Pintilii (Tatu 64'), Chipciu, Pirvulescu, Stanciu (Prepelita 61'), Iancu, Kapetanos (Piovaccari 71')

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