Chelsea 1 Steaua Bucharest 0
Lacklustre Chelsea secured top spot in Champions League Group E with a 1-0 defeat of Steaua Bucharest in a performance which is unlikely to have European football’s elite cowering for cover.
The Blues had already qualified for the last 16 prior to the final match of the group campaign against already-eliminated Steaua, yet Jose Mourinho insisted his side were not contenders for the European Cup this term.
Demba Ba’s early goal earned victory over the Romanians, but on this evidence - as well as in the defeats to Basle at home and away – there is much to do if the Blues, the 2012 winners, are going to advance to the latter stages of the competition in the new year.
Mourinho and his players were hit by laser pens from the away end throughout and the Portuguese was at times aghast at the inability of his side to hit the target, either when passing or in front of goal.
The Blues took a 10th-minute lead due to Steaua’s shaky defence.
Initially it was deemed to be an own goal by Daniel Georgievski, who also found his own net in Bucharest, before Ba was subsequently confirmed as the scorer.
Ba missed a sitter from six yards early in the second half when found by a Willian cross, leaving Mourinho, who has expressed his frustration as his strikers have struggled to score this season, to shrug his shoulders.
In a performance lacking intensity, the dominant Blues could not find a second goal and had to settle for a narrow win, their fourth of the pool, to advance to the knockout stages as group winners.