Chelsea beats Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 in Champions League
HAIFA, Israel (AP) — Chelsea remained in the hunt to advance from Champions League Group G in easing past 10-man Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 on Tuesday.
Chelsea and Porto, which lost to Dynamo Kiev 2-1, were tied atop the group on 10 points, two more than Kiev.
In the final round of group games next month, Chelsea, ahead on goal difference, hosts Porto in a likely winner-takes-all match, and Kiev welcomes winless Tel Aviv.
“I know if we win we finish first,” Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho said. “I know if we lose we go to Europa League. I don’t know with a draw - I need a calculator. We have to win our match.”
Mourinho blamed the poor quality of the field at Sammy Ofer Stadium for the late ankle injury which caused Chelsea captain John Terry to be taken off on a stretcher. He’s doubtful for the English Premier League match against Tottenham on Sunday.
Midfielder Ramires was also injured while training on the same field late Monday.
Tel Aviv started strongly, creating two chances in the first five minutes. Dor Peretz headed a Tal Ben Chaim cross over the bar, and Eli Dasa squandered a close-range shot.
Gary Cahill put the visitors up in the 20th minute, reacting first to his initial header which was palmed onto the post.
Tel Aviv was reduced to 10 men five minutes before halftime when former Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim was sent off for a rash challenge on Diego Costa.
Tel Aviv goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic kept his side in the match with quick successive stops of Eden Hazard and Cesar Azpilicueta, and it took Chelsea more than half an hour to double its lead, when Willian curled in a free kick.
A minute after Terry was taken off, midfielder Oscar headed past Rajkovic for 3-0.
Substitute Kurt Zouma capped the victory in injury time with a header from a corner, though Mourinho believed the score flattered Chelsea, which enjoyed consecutive wins for the first time in two months.
Tel Aviv coach Slavisa Jokanovic was proud of his team’s performance.
“We are 11 years outside this competition. It is a complicated and tough competition for us. We don’t have this experience,” he said. “We are not solid at the moment but we showed character.”