LONDON (AFP) – Didier Drogba scored his first goal since returning to Chelsea as Jose Mourinho’s side took control of Champions League Group G with a crushing 6-0 victory over Maribor at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Drogba’s last goal for the Blues was the decisive penalty that saw Bayern Munich beaten in the 2012 Champions League final.
And, having returned to west London during the last transfer window, the Ivory Coast striker again scored from the spot to put his side 2-0 up – although it meant ignoring Mourinho, who had said Eden Hazard would be Chelsea’s penalty-taker. Loic Remy had opened the scoring in the 13th minute before John Terry put Chelsea in total control with a 31st-minute goal.
A second-half own goal from Mitja Viler followed by two goals from Eden Hazard, one a penalty, confirmed a win that extended Chelsea’s outstanding start to the season.
The only blow suffered by Premier League leaders Chelsea was an injury to Remy that could make him a doubt to face Manchester United on Sunday.
“To finish (my time at Chelsea) with a penalty and start again with a penalty was nice symmetry,” Drogba told Sky Sports. “I am really happy because of the way we played today. We scored one, then two and didn’t stop, we continued to play”.
However, Mourinho, while pleased by the result, was not happy at seeing his penalty instructions ignored.
“I was surprised that Eden Hazard gave the ball to Didier Drogba for the penalty,” he said. “I wasn’t particularly pleased, no. I have my choices and Hazard is number one. Because it was a goal, I was happy.”
Mourinho had insisted before this game he would not allow the upcoming trip to Old Trafford to influence his team selection.
And the Portuguese boss was good to his word, naming a strong side that showed just two changes from the team that started in Saturday’s victory at Crystal Palace.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech made only his second start of the season and Kurt Zouma, the teenage centre-back, came in for his Champions League debut in place of Gary Cahill.
With Diego Costa still injured after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty with Spain, Remy was again handed the responsibility of leading the attack.
Remy responded when, having been picked out by an excellent through ball by Terry, he advanced from 30 yards and cut in from the right before drilling a low, left foot shot inside the far post for his second goal since arriving from Queens Park Rangers on transfer deadline day.
That, though, was the forward’s last meaningful contribution with Remy pulling up holding his groin, prompting the introduction of substitute Drogba. Mourinho had warned Drogba was unable to complete 90 minutes after the 37-year-old had struggled to make an impact in Chelsea’s opening Champions League group game against Schalke.
On this occasion, however, it took the striker just seven minutes to register his presence.
Maribor midfielder Ales Mertelj conceded a penalty after using his hand to block Willian’s attempted pass and Drogba finished emphatically.
That left Maribor facing a daunting task and worse was to come for the Slovenian side.
Terry added a third goal after a lightning break following a Maribor corner.
Hazard picked up a long clearance and broke into the Maribor half before laying the ball off to Cesc Fabregas whose low cross was met inside the six-yard box by Terry, who had raced the length of the pitch to join the attack.
Chelsea pressed on after the break when Viler turned the ball into his own net from Hazard’s cross in the 54th minute and Maribor’s match was summed up when Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic clumsily barged into Agim Ibraimi to concede a penalty only for the striker’s spot-kick to hit the post.