Chelsea were lifted to a 1 – 0 away victory against Sparta Prague by a delightful effort from Brazilian international Oscar in Europa League action Thursday.
Chelsea’s Demba Ba was unable to take part in the match, as he had already played in the competition with Newcastle this season. His absence was noticeable, as Fernando Torres obviously lacks the spark he once had at Liverpool. Torres had several chances in front of the Prague goal but was unable to take advantage, as he has been for much of the past two seasons at Chelsea.
It was the Czech side who had most of the early pressure, and winger LadislavKrejci was giving Chelsea all sorts of problems down the left flank. Chelsea were lucky not to concede in the 31’ as David Lafata was just unable to find a final touch after a brilliant bit of play from VáclavKadlec.
Prague had a few other chances through the first half and beginning of the second, but it was the away side who would find paydirt. After a mediocre team effort through much of the game, Oscar’s substitution for Chelsea in the 82’ led to an immediate impact, as the Brazilian finished a delightful give-and-go with Eden Hazard to score the only goal of the match.
Oscar cemented his place as Chelsea’s leading scorer in European competitions with his seventh goal in eight appearances, and made his manager look like a genius, scoring within the first minute of his substitution. The young Brazilian injected a spark into the game which had been previously lacking from the Blues, and his away goal has given Chelsea an advantage after the first leg of their Europa Cup match-up.
Chelsea are next in action this Saturday as they face off with League One side Brentford in FA Cup action: another must-win fixture now that the Premier League title is all but out of reach.