English Premier League champions Chelsea booked their place in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League after a comfortable 4-0 win against Qarabag at the Olympic Stadium, Baku on Wednesday.
Goals from Eden Hazard, a brace from Willian and Cesc Fabregas helped Antonio Conte’s men win the tie.
The Blues who were without their Nigeria wing-back Victor Moses who is close to full fitness following an injury picked up against Crystal Palace weeks back, came close to taking the lead in the fourth through Fabregas but his effort was well saved by Ibrahim Sehic.
The hosts came close to scoring the game’s opening goal on 12 minutes but Michel Madera’s effort hit the woodwork.
The breakthrough came for Chelsea on 19 minutes when Brazilian midfielder Willian was brought down inside the box by Qarabag captain Rashad Sadygov.
The defender was sent off for a professional foul with Eden Hazard converting the spot pick two minutes later to hand Chelsea the lead.
It was the Belgian’s third goal in five Champions League game for the former champions this season.
Qarabag put up a good fight despite going a man down but conceded the second goal nine minutes before the break.
Hazard received the ball inside the penalty area and after flicking the ball into the path of Willian, the Brazilian did the rest with a cool finish from 12 yards out.
With Saturday’s crucial Premier League game against Liverpool in mind, Chelsea adopted a patient approach in the second half and had to wait till the 68th minute to carve out another meaningful chance.
Substitute Alvaro Morata was picked out by Antonio Rudiger inside the penalty area but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Fabregas added the third on 73 minutes, while Willian capped an impressive evening with the last goal of the game six minutes from time.