It was a memorable trip to Amsterdam for Michy Batshuayi on Wednesday night, but who else has come up trumps for the Blues in away matches in the Champions League group stage?
Well, for starters, we should add this isn’t Michy’s first rodeo – read on to find out about another occasion when he was an away day hero in Europe’s premier club competition.
After seeing him bag a late winner off the bench for the Blues to defeat Ajax on Wednesday night, it got us thinking back to the times when our players have starred to get us over the line when we’ve faced tricky trips on the continent...
When one thinks of Chelsea’s first Champions League campaign back in 1999/00, Dennis Wise scoring in the San Siro immediately springs to mind – it wasn’t in a win, however, so it’s excluded from our list – and Tore Andre Flo banging in the goals, most notably on a famous night against Barca at the Bridge. However, Zola gets our pick for this one after running the show, as well as scoring one himself, in a 5-0 win over Galatasaray in Istanbul, one of the most hostile environments in European football. 'Welcome to hell' read the banners before the game; by the time he was subbed off, the little Italian maestro received a round of applause from the home fans!
We should have realised Drogba was a man for the big occasion after he marked his Champions League debut for the Blues in the 2004/05 season by netting a stunning brace against Paris Saint-Germain. True, they weren’t the force they have since become, but as a former Marseille man, the Ivorian received a torrid reception from fans inside the Parc des Princes – and he responded in true Drogba fashion by stealing the show.
Later in that same group campaign, we headed to Russia for a game against CSKA Moscow. The Blues were beginning to put together the run which would take us to Premier League glory, and the man who had injected a touch of flair into a solid team was Arjen Robben, who was fast becoming a superstar. This match-winning effort was the Dutchman at his twinkle-toed best, complete with a clinical finish.
When we travel to Valencia next month, we could do with someone putting in a performance as impressive as our beloved No.10 put in back in the autumn of 2007. Los Che had taken an early lead, but Cole drew us level and then provided an assist so sublime he deserved a share of the goal! The scoresheet said Drogba, but make no mistake it, the boyhood Blues fan’s outside-of-the-boot assist was what the kids were trying to copy in the playground the next day.
What a way to mark your 100th appearance as a Blue! Torres might not have been the regular scorer we’d been hoping for when he signed – although he played a big part in our Champions League-winning campaign with that goal in Barcelona – but he marked this occasion against Schalke in 2013 with a well-taken brace against the German side which were goals 38 and 39 for Torres as a Chelsea player. They helped us to a 3-0 victory.
Perhaps not a name you’d associate with goalscoring, Matic netted just seven times in 154 appearances for the Blues – and two of them came in the group stage of the 2014/15 campaign. The Serbian midfielder was on hand to head home a Cesc Fabregas’ free-kick shortly before half-time to settle our trip to Sporting Lisbon. The goal was made all the sweeter by the fact he used to play for Benfica, who also hail from the Portuguese capital.
As we hinted at before, the Belgian striker is no stranger to late winners when the Blues need him most on the road in the Champions League group stage. This time it was in Spain’s capital city, not Holland, that he was the hero, as we took on an Atletico Madrid side which had reached two of the previous four finals. As an electrifying match looked set to finish all-square, Marcos Alonso teed up Batshuayi to score with the final kick of the game to secure a deserved victory.