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Sparta Prague 0 Chelsea 1

Sparta Prague 0 Chelsea 1

In a game that won`t remain in the memory banks for too long, a solitary goal, late-on, from Oscar, on as a substitute, gave Chelsea a valuable first leg lead.

Team News - Rafa Benitez showed just how serious Chelsea were taking this competition by selecting a strong starting line-up. The only changes from what might be considered the strongest starting eleven available were the inclusion of Ryan Bertrand and Marko Marin. Frank Lampard captained the side with John Terry on the bench.

First Half - With the action having got underway in inclement weather, Lampard drew the first save from the Sparta Prague keeper, Tomáš Vaclík, with a shot from the edge of the box.

A fine ball from Marin then saw Eden Hazard drill a cross right across the face of the goal but nobody was on hand to turn it in. Hazard had started the game well with a full array of tricks and flicks on display.

Our hosts, just past the quarter of an hour mark, created their first opportunity when a cross from Ladislav Krejčí' found David Lafata but no shot was forthcoming to test Petr Cech.

After a bright start, meaningful action then became something of a scarcity. But, with something close to ten minutes to go before the break, Sparta should have gone ahead when a loose ball, fell invitingly for David Lafata but the striker shot wide from just six yards out.

Marin, showing glimpses of why he was dubbed the German Messi, combined with Juan Mata and Lampard to create a chance for Fernando Torres but it all to no avail as the striker got his feet in a muddle ad was unable to get his shot off.

Relying on the counter-attack, after soaking up Sparta Prague possession, Lampard chancing his luck from thirty yards out saw his effort comfortably saved by the keeper.

Second Half - The second forty-five minutes started with Lampard finding the shins of a defender with a free kick as both sides looked for that vita opening goal. Cech was then forced into a save denying Matěj Hybš who had unleashed a shot from distance before Torres fumbled another good chance with a too heavy first touch.

Mata, becoming more influential hit the ball over the top of the Sparta defence but as Torres went to hit it the defence smothered him and Marin saw a shot blocked from his lay-off. With Marin enjoying his best display in a Chelsea shirt, Rafa Benitez decided to replace him with Yossi Benayoun.

Was the substitution designed to put some energy into what was, so far, something of a listless display?

Chelsea tried to inject some life into the game but Lampard`s header was snapped up, easily, by the keeper before a shot from Torres went for a throw-in, it was fast becoming that sort of night.

With fifteen minutes to go, it was hard to see where a goal might come from. But an inspired, or should that be a common sense introduction, saw Oscar give us that crucial away goal, although many might have felt that Mata was unlucky to make way for the Brazilian.

Oscar`s goal was beauty personified with the youngster skipping past a tired looking defender before beating the keeper with a cool finish. Oscar had been on the pitch for roughly 20 seconds .With the goal lead Chelsea, quite easily, saw the game out.

Chelsea - Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand, Ramires, Lampard, Marin (Benayoun-68), Hazard, Mata (Oscar-81), Torres

Unused Subs - Turnbull, Ferreira, Ake, Terry, Cole,

Chelsea Scorers - Oscar (82)

Chelsea Yellow Cards - Cahill,

Chelsea Red Cards - Nil

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Thursday February 14 2013
Time: 7:50PM

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I was please with Marin and Bertrand too, but Oscar stole the show for me. It's a good away win. I think we should take this competition seriously but shouldn't stop us from keeping our third position though.
14/02/2013 20:09:00
Third position in the premier league, i mean.
14/02/2013 20:10:00
It took a while but at least Benitez made the right move in bringing Oscar on.
14/02/2013 20:12:00
Mata & Rami are tired. They should not play any match till next Sunday against City.
14/02/2013 20:15:00
Oscar goal was sublime, it is a goal that put torres to shame. Lord have mercy and make us achieve top3 in the league
14/02/2013 20:16:00
Azpi, Iva, Torres and Cole should not take any part in Sunday's FaCup game. They should rest.
14/02/2013 20:17:00
samex,that is wiishful thinking mate, rafa will play them for 90 mins in our next game on sunday. Just pray they don't get injured, considering that mata is just recovering, he shouldn't have played for that long today as he is our life line we ought to protect him more and try to get his form back
14/02/2013 20:18:00
We need to ship Torres through whatever means...its confirmed, he is finished...sell him to any half willing club let them pay whatever fee over 5 seasons similar to balotelli...we were poor on the night and we have been poor for some time now...but in the last two matches we got the results...Rafa remains clueless to me and m not sure I have seen any chelsea team play this disjointed since the Roman era...good result in the end, but I have my fears and while I honestly do not care bout wat happens in the europa, I fear for our top three finish...our play has been shocking bad for close to 6-8 games now...Good Lord, I pray we make chanpions league.
14/02/2013 20:19:00
Rafa should play- Cech- Paulo-Terry-Cahill-Ryan- Luiz-Mikel Moses-Oscar-Hazard Ba on Sunday.
14/02/2013 20:19:00
How useless is Torres now. To think what this guy earns, it's daylight robbery. Seriously.
14/02/2013 20:22:00
In the 2nd leg, he should play: Cech- Paulo-Iva-Cahill-Ryan- Mikel-Lamps Moses-Oscar-Yossi T9
14/02/2013 20:25:00
And play Cech- Azpi-Terry-Cahill-Cole Luiz-Rami Moses-Mata-Hazard Ba against City.
14/02/2013 20:28:00
does any body know how many mre years are left on torres contract?
14/02/2013 20:29:00
and FT9 actually earns 175k a is he able to spend the money without feeling guilty?...meen we need to ship him...and I sincerely hope tubby has already started packing his bag too....we dont need drama..
14/02/2013 20:34:00
@Layorh2 Carlo's team in his second season, during 'bad moment' 2.0 played much more worse than this. You should be happy, things could be worse. Btw, United play more scrappy than this atimes but are still on top of the league, Why? Cos they have strikers that can produce magic moments like Oscar did today, who do we have???? TORRES!!!!!
14/02/2013 20:34:00
CFC's downfall started the day we splashed 50m squids on a finished T9. We wasted that cash. DD was no longer scoring, our board felt the right thing to do was to buy another CF, they forgot Anelka, Kalou and Sturridge were still around. We were supposed to use the cash to get true wingers that will stretch the play and provide quality crosses for our strikers. DiMaria, Gaitan, Sanchez, Johnson were all available for peanuts. Ahhh!!!!! Roman needs Hiddink by his side.
14/02/2013 20:41:00
Off Topic, 1) Did any of you read Piazon's interview, it feels like he never wants to come back to English game, 2) Lazar Markovic has not signed any pre-contract.
14/02/2013 20:42:00
^^^ have a point I guess...this whole thingy is getting me depressed seriously..from the team's overall performance to torres....I mean this team is playing like they dont have a coach..and its only todday's match its been that way for close to 6-7 games in my eyes....**sigh sigh...what exactly has rafa done?..what is he doing?...what has he changed?...and why do folks here say he is world class....reality is far from some people here....i am sad!
14/02/2013 20:45:00
@B2k40...I dont believe Markovic..something is definitely up between him and chelsea and the all parties involved are obviously keeping it secret...and how can you say Piazon does not want to come back to chelsea?..i have read the interview and all he said was that he was not getting minutes here and its dificult for a youngster to break into chelse first team..he needed minutes and malaga is the best option for him now and he likes the city and food...he dint say he dint wanta come false alarms please!
14/02/2013 20:49:00
and while marin is a decent player...I dont think he'll be a key player for us..he is too light weight...'ll take kdb over him next season.....maybe marin can be loaned of kept for depth and capital one cup matches...m sure he is on small wages.
14/02/2013 20:57:00
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