Roberto Di Matteo left relieved after David Luiz kills off brave Danes FC Nordsjaelland

FC Nordsjaelland 0 Chelsea 4

Parken Stadium

A deeply flattering scoreline took Chelsea to the top of the Group E table here last night, though hardly in the grand manner. It required three goals in the last 11 minutes of a pleasingly open match to see off spirited opposition in Nordsjaelland with their insistent possession game, occasionally let down by naive mistakes.

Without John Terry, Chelsea's defence allowed last season's surprise Danish champions some scope and scoring opportunities, but the home side's best period, lasting much of the second half, was brutally truncated. David Luiz added a badly needed second goal direct from a free-kick and it was a case of rubbing it in when Juan Mata scored his second goal of the night and finally Ramires tapped into an empty net.

As expected, Roberto Di Matteo rested one of his new midfield trio in Eden Hazard as well as Jon Obi Mikel and Terry. That meant Frank Lampard taking the captaincy and one of the defensive midfield berths after missing the last two Premier League games, while Victor Moses was given a first start that he did not make the best of. The Spaniard Fernando Torres, maintaining his record as the only outfield player to have started every game this season, worked hard without converting any of his chances, the lack of options made clear by a substitutes' bench devoid of any other striker.

"We expected a difficult game and that's what it was," Di Matteo said. "We were looking for that second goal to close the game off." Until it came, his team had been in danger of dropping further points to add to those frittered away in losing a 2-0 lead at home to Juventus. Now, however, a four-goal bonus has taken them ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk, their next opponents in a double-header.

The home supporters, who normally number no more than 9,000 at their own ground in Farum, must have feared defeat by several goals early on in Copenhagen, but Nordsjaelland recovered well, only to fall behind as a result of their greatest fault, which was over-playing. Even the Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, might not advocate quite as much passing in and around their own penalty area.

Enoch Adu was some 10 yards outside it when Torres brushed him off the ball. He had support in the shape of Lampard, who immediately found Mata for a smart finish. In the opening 10 minutes alone, Oscar drove narrowly wide, Moses headed against a post while clashing heads with the outstanding 20 year-old defender Jores Okore and Lampard showed that he can still race into the penalty area as of old, hitting Mata's pass just too high.

The home side kept their composure and kept passing, however, and it took a fine blocking tackle by Ashley Cole to prevent Kasper Lorentzen sweeping home a cross. After scoring once, Chelsea threatened to do so again, mainly through Torres, who was twice denied by the goalkeeper. Early in the second half Moses also put the ball past Jesper Hansen from a Torres pass but was adjudged to have fouled Michael Parkhurst before doing so.

The holders needed a second goal to feel more comfortable, as was emphasised when Joshua John came inside Ramires with a low shot just wide, Mikkel Beckmann headed Okore's long cross onto the roof of the net and the captain, Nicolai Stokholm, forced Petr Cech to make a low save. With Chelsea suddenly on the back foot, Cech had to push John's shot on to a post and it was Cole who blocked the follow-up from Beckmann.

That proved to be the worst of it, though. Di Matteo had sent on Hazard for the disappointing Moses but it was from a counter-attack that the relief of a second goal came. Torres, fighting hard for everything, was fouled 20 yards out and Luiz hit a free-kick that Cristiano Ronaldo would have admired, dipping over the wall and brushing a post on its way in. That was in the 79th minute and it was very harsh on the home side to concede twice more, well worked as the goals were. Mata wriggled through for the third, giving him four in three games, and Ramires was neatly set up by Oscar.

"We played a tight game for 75 minutes, then collapsed," said the Danish side's coach Kasper Hjulmand. It was a fair summary.

Man of the match Mata.

Match rating 7/10.

Referee M Strahonja (Croa).

Attendance 25,120

Related article from London's Evening Standard...

Stylish Roberto Di Matteo is making the most of Andre Villas-Boas's template for success

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football'Mr Marmite' faced the possibility of a 28-day ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower