A late strike from second-half substitute Oscar earned Chelsea a 1-0 win over Sparta Prague in their Europa League debut.
The Brazilian starlet rescued Rafa Benitez’s side with his well-taken winning goal within the last 10 minutes of the match, after a poor performance from the champions of Europe in the first-leg of their last-32 match-up.
Marko Marin was the outstanding performer in blue, with his best showing in a Chelsea shirt so far, but clear chances were hard to come by for either team.
The home side were unlucky not to take an early lead when David Lafata took advantage of a defensive error, but the Czech forward skewed his shot inches wide.
Fernando Torres will take the spotlight once again after fluffing his lines on a number of occasions, while Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard also wasted good chances to put the visitors in front.
An underwhelming game saw Oscar come off the bench with 80 minutes played, and he had the ball in the back of the net within seconds, picking up the ball and zigzagging between the slugged Sparta defence to slot past goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
Chelsea will now take the slim advantage into the second-leg at Stamford Bridge next week.