Matic header edges Sporting

Date published: Thursday 1st January 1970 12:00

Matic header edges Sporting

Jose Mourinho’s side were on top for the majority of the game but failed to convert a number of good chances and Matic’s goal was all that separated the sides at the final whistle.

The former Benfica midfielder put the visitors in front after 34 minutes when he rose unmarked at the far post to head a quickly-taken Cesc Fabregas free-kick past goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Sporting’s best chance came in the final minute of normal time when Adrien Silva picked out substitute Fredy Montero with a cross, but his header flew just wide of the near post.

Diego Costa almost fired Chelsea into the lead when he was put through on goal after just two minutes but Patricio made the first of a string of fine saves, staying big in the face of the Spaniard before deflecting the ball behind for a corner.

Andre Schurrle then wasted a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock but screwed his effort to the left of the post after Eden Hazard found him unmarked on the penalty spot on 22 minutes.

Sporting pushed committed more and more numbers forward as they pushed for an equaliser in the second half, which allowed Felipe Luis to put Oscar clean through on goal. Once again, Patricio swept up the danger.

Fabregas then found Costa with a wonderful ball over the top 10 minutes from time, but the Spain forward found the side-netting as the ever-alert Patricio quickly closed down the angle.

Costa nearly got through again four minutes later as a wonderfully disguised throughball from Matic almost picked out his arcing run, but the Lisbon keeper was again alert to the danger.

Montero’s header then flew inches wide before Chelsea substitute Mohamed Salah had the chance to seal the game in added-time – denied by Patricio after Fabregas threaded a pinpoint pass to his feet.

The result sends Chelsea on top of the group with four points after Schalke were at held to a draw at home to Maribor. 

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