Willian scored twice as Chelsea progressed to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a comfortable victory against 10-man Qarabag last night.
Forward Willian had scored just one goal prior to this game this season – against Everton in the League Cup – but played a pivotal role in this win for the Blues, also winning two penalties.
After former Birmingham City midfielder Michel hit the bar for Qarabag, Chelsea were awarded their first spot kick when Rashad Sadygov was adjudged to have pulled down Willian inside the area. Sadygov was subsequently sent off and Eden Hazard sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
The visitors quickly added a second following a stunning passage of play which ended with Hazard back-heeling the ball for Willian to side-foot home.
Chelsea beat Qarabag 6-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first Group C game between the two sides back in September and a repeat of such a score-line looked likely with Antonio Conte’s side capable of scoring with every attack.
Elsewhere, CSKA Moscow earned their first home win of the UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory over Benfica that strengthens their push to reach the knockout stages while shattering the Portuguese side’s chances.
Georgi Schennikov put CSKA ahead after 13 minutes with a left-footed finish, having been assisted by Bibras Natcho’s short through ball that shredded Benfica’s backline.
The visitors’ troubles worsened after the interval as defender Jardel then clumsily deflected a cross by CSKA’s Vitinho into the back of his own net after 56 minutes.
CSKA’s win puts them into second place in Group A on nine points behind leaders Manchester United, who played Basel late last night.
Yet the result ensured that former European champions Benfica, still without a point, are now certain to finish last.