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Antonio Conte’s Chelsea romped to an easy win over Group C opponents FK Qarabag as Champions League football returned to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
The Premier League champions faced the Azerbaijani side in their first group match back among European football’s elite after a season away.
Conte’s attention would have no doubt been on the London derby clash against Arsenal this Sunday.
Pedro opened the scoring early on with new signing Davide Zappacosta adding a fine second as the English champions went into the interval with a comfortable lead.
Defender Cesar Azpilicueta and substitute Tiemoue Bakayoko put the game beyond reach before Michy Batshuayi’s brace completed the rout late on.
“To play the first game [of the] Champions League, then to win with a good result, to score many goals, to finish the game with a clean sheet [is good],” said Conte.
“Now we have to continue, we have to rest and then to start to think about the next game, a strong game, a tough game against Arsenal [on Sunday].”
Spanish winger Pedro gave Chelsea an ideal start after his thumping shot put his side ahead on six minutes.
Zappacosta scored the goal of the night with a shot/cross on 30 minutes that flew over goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic to give Chelsea a comfortable margin.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, whose season thus far has been blighted by injury, came on with a third of the match remaining.
Conte said that the club would need to be careful of rushing the Belgian playmaker back. He added: “We must have a bit of patience with him and to try to give the possibility for Eden to recover very well.
“We must be calm and to do the best for the player and for the team. Otherwise we risk a bad injury to delay the situation. This is the right way. This process is good for him.”
Willian hit the crossbar on 66 minutes as a rampant Chelsea continued to push for more goals.
However, they didn’t need to wait long to extend their lead as Bakayoko added a fourth before a combination of Batshuayi, for the fifth, and Qarabag defender Maksim Medvedev and Batshuayi bundled in a sixth.
Chelsea face tough tests against Atletico Madrid and Roma in their next matches in the group.
Qarabag boss Gurban Gurbanov said: “The game was very difficult for us. Chelsea played very good. Chelsea is a favourite for the tournament.
“We made lots of errors and I accept we must play even better. But I am satisfied with the way we played.”
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