When Chelsea lost to Newcastle last weekend, Nigeria’s John Mikel Obi was made the scapegoat as he was blamed for not marshalling the midfield as well as Serbian Nemanja Matic who missed the game through accumulation of five yellow cards.
But in Wednesday night’s Champions League clash against Sporting Lisbon, the former Lyn Oslo star gave a star performance and earned a goal for himself when he bundled home Chelsea’s third goal on 56 minutes to make it 3-1 and add to Cesc Fabregas and Andre Schuerrle goals for the Blues.
The goal is Mikel Obi’s first ever Champions League goal for Chelsea after 58 appearances. The goal wasn’t beautiful or spectacular but was a significant strike for the Nigerian as he celebrated like a newly wed with teammates who embraced him with graciously for a job well-done.
The Blues were already assured of qualification as goals from Cesc Fabregas, Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel secured the victory, despite Adrien Silva’s effort for the Portuguese side.
Spain international Fabregas was handed the chance to give his side the lead from the penalty spot after eight minutes thanks to a foul on Filipe Luis.
Fabregas made no mistake from 12 yards before Germany international Schurrle doubled the advantage shortly after.
Schurrle managed to find some space on the edge of the box and the former Bayer Leverkusen forward curled an effort beyond Rui Patricio into the bottom corner.
Nemanja Matic should have made it 3-0 on the half-hour mark but his somehow missed the target when well placed inside the area.
The Portuguese side reduced the deficit less than five minutes into the second period when Adrien Silva chested down a half cleared ball before drilling past Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal.
There an almost instant replay from Jose Mourinho’s side but Mohamed Salah was denied by an excellent stop from Patricio.
Mourinho’s men didn’t have to wait too much to longer to regain their two-goal cushion though and it was Mikel who got his name on the scoresheet with a close-range finish.
Islam Slimani almost reduced the deficit once more but the Sporting striker was thwarted by Cech’s save on 63 minutes.–The Nation