Belfast Telegraph

Champions League: Jose Mourinho fumes at pitch and Costa but Chelsea on track

Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-4 Chelsea

By Matt McGeehan

Chelsea's Champions League fate will go to the final group game after an unconvincing 4-0 win over 10-man Maccabi Tel Aviv earned successive victories for the first time in two months.

Porto's home loss to Dynamo Kiev means progression from Group G is by no means certain for Chelsea, who beat Norwich last Saturday and host Jose Mourinho's former side in Europe on December 9.

A draw should be enough for the Blues to advance to the knockout stages.

Gary Cahill scored from a corner and former Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim I was shown a straight red card before half-time for a wild kick at Diego Costa, who had an altercation with Mourinho at the interval.

Willian added a free-kick strike - his sixth set-piece goal of the season - Oscar headed in a third and Kurt Zouma a fourth at Haifa's Sammy Ofer Stadium to put a gloss on the scoreline.

"It was very important especially with what happened in Porto," said Mourinho.

"It is also important to have two victories in a few days. I hope tranquility comes, morale comes, confidence comes.

"In this moment we are in a good position. Maccabi don't deserve such a hard punishment, they did OK for periods of the game with 10 men.

"Asmir Begovic had a beautiful hand to keep a clean sheet."

There was plenty for Mourinho to ponder, though, after a bust up with Costa and with John Terry departing on a stretcher with a foot injury.

Mourinho and Costa had a frank exchange as the teams left the field for half-time and Loic Remy was sent out to warm-up, but the Spain striker completed the game as Chelsea struggled to assert themselves and lost their talismanic skipper to injury.

Mourinho was also less than impressed by a pitch which he took it upon himself to repair after Cahill's goal, replacing large divots near his technical area.

"The pitch doesn't help, it was really difficult for us," said Mourinho.

"One injury yesterday with Ramires, one for John Terry today and I'm happy with just two.

"John is a doubt for the weekend, but I don't want to speak without tests."

Just a third win in 11 Champions League away games - and first in a year, since the 5-0 victory at Schalke - earned the Blues successive wins for the first time in two months, when they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv, Arsenal and Walsall in consecutive games in September.

Chelsea went in front when Cahill met Willian's corner, Predrag Rajkovic turned the ball on to the post and the defender met the rebound with a simple tap in.

Ben Haim was shown a red card for a kick which appeared more mis-timed than malicious.

It was still far from easy for Chelsea as Begovic was required to spread himself to deny Eli Dasa and made a finger-tip save from Eran Zahavi after Azpilicueta had been denied by Rajkovic.

Terry was in agony after a challenge in midfield and departed as Willian lined-up a free-kick which he subsequently curled in.

Rahman then crossed for Oscar to head in a third and Zouma added a fourth.

MACCABI TEL AVIV: Rajkovic, Dasa, Ben Haim I, Badias, Harush, Peretz, Alberman (Azulay 85), Ben Haim II (Ben Basat 80), Igiebor, Rikan, Zahavi (Itzhaki 89). Subs not used: Lifshitz, Tibi, Mitrovic, Vermouth.

CHELSEA: Begovic, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry (Zouma 72), Baba, Fàbregas, Matic, Willian (Remy 79), Oscar, Hazard (Pedro 69), Costa. Subs not used: Ivanovic, Mikel, Blackman, Loftus-Cheek.

Goals: Cahill 20, Willian 73, Oscar 77, Zouma 90.

Man of the match: Willian

Rating: 7/10

Referee: Alberto Mallenco (Spain).

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