Saturday, September 23

Mata, Luiz strike as Chelsea down Leverkusen


WINNING START: Mata (right) celebrates with Chelsea teammate Fernando Torres after scoring against Bayer Leverkusen during their Group E match at Stamford Bridge in London. — AFP photo

LONDON: Chelsea made a winning start to their latest bid for Champions League glory here Tuesday as second half goals from David Luiz and Juan Mata secured a 2-0 win over Bundesliga side Bayer Levekusen.

Brazilian international Luiz fired the English Premier League giants ahead with a goal on 67 minutes, curling a low shot beyond Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno after a neat lay-off from Fernando Torres.

Torres then set up Chelsea’s second of the night deep in injury time, accelerating clear of the Leverkusen defence before unselfishly cutting back for Mata who sidefooted home into an open goal.

“We created so many opportunities to win the game by more. It was a game for us to win,” Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas said afterwards.

“If there was a fair result it would have been Chelsea winning. It was just a shame it took a long time for the second to arrive.”

Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt had no complaints about his side’s defeat.

“Chelsea deserved to win the game but my team gave a very good performance,” he said. “Chelsea’s defence just didn’t make any mistakes. But the more experience my team get the better they will get.”

With one eye on Sunday’s looming domestic battle with Manchester United, Villas-Boas had taken a gamble by leaving Frank Lampard on the bench and omitting captain John Terry altogether.

Villas-Boas disagreed that he had taken a risk by leaving the two Chelsea icons out of his starting line-up.

“I don’t see things like that. I think you are trying to look at the negative when there are so many positives. We have a very competitive squad,” he said. — AFP