Davide Zappacosta and Tiemoue Bakayoko hit their first Chelsea goals as the Blues returned to the Champions League with a rampant 6-0 group-stage win over Qarabag at Stamford Bridge.
After a year away from European competition, the three points never looked in doubt for the Premier League champions after Pedro kicked off their Group C campaign with a fifth-minute goal.
A bizarre strike from full debutant Zappacosta followed before the interval, Cesar Azpilicueta added a third and there was still time for substitute Bakayoko and Michy Batshuayi to get in on the act.
Gurban Gurbanov's visitors - becoming the first side from Azerbaijan to play in the main draw of Europe's premier club competition - never threatened to spring a surprise and Thibaut Courtois will enjoy few easier outings this season.
This is a fourth straight win for Antonio Conte's men in all competitions but three points here were the bare minimum.
Full-time: Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag!— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 12, 2017
The Blues return to the Champions League in style! pic.twitter.com/mVEJSTkbKo
They are now back in league action at home to rivals Arsenal on Sunday before tougher tests in this group against Atletico Madrid and Roma.
Ibrahim Sehic saved with some ease from Marcos Alonso's curler in Chelsea's first attack, but his parry behind prompted a spell of pressure from which Qarabag never recovered.
The first corner was scrambled away but a second set-piece went short for Willian to pick out Pedro, completely free on the edge of the box and able to sweep a finish high past Sehic.
A smart low stop denied Willian after executing a clever one-two with Batshuayi, who could only stab the rebound wide from a tight angle.
Zappacosta's moment then came on the half-hour mark as he followed an impressive charge past Wilde-Donald Guerrier on the right flank with a fizzing cross-cum-shot that flew over the helpless Sehic.
The wing-back could have added another before half-time but pulled his left-footed effort wide, before Pedro Henrique belatedly drew a first comfortable stop from Courtois.
Although Chelsea's momentum initially slowed after the break, the third goal soon arrived as Cesc Fabregas centred for Azpilicueta to direct a fine header past Sehic.
Willian dipped inside from the left to lash against the crossbar, but the fourth belonged to Bakayoko - introduced in N'Golo Kante's place - as he profited from a goalmouth scramble and then a hefty deflection to beat Sehic.
Batshuayi followed suit and blasted a low finish past the goalkeeper before forcing a Maksim Medvedev own goal from Zappacosta's cross to cap the scoring on a comfortable return to European action.
KEY OPTA STATS
- This was Chelsea’s joint-biggest win in the Champions League (6-0 vs Maribor in October 2014).
- Chelsea have lost just one of their last 39 home games in the Champions League group stages (W30 D8), and have scored in their last such 25 games at Stamford Bridge.
- Davide Zappacosta became the 100th Italian player to score a Champions League goal (excluding own goals).
- Thibaut Courtois’ assist for Zappacosta’s strike was the first by a keeper in the Champions League since Fraser Forster set up Tony Watt for Celtic against Barcelona in November 2012.
- Since joining the club in 2014, Cesc Fabregas has recorded 46 assists in all competitions – at least 21 more than any other Chelsea player in that time (Eden Hazard, 25).
- This was the 18th time a club has faced an English side in their first ever Champions League match – only one side has ever won (Mallorca vs Arsenal in 2001).
|Salah threatening Rush´s record for goals in single Liverpool season|
|Hodgson hopes Zaha avoided injury|
|Snow causes Wakefield-Widnes abandonment|
|Liverpool 5 Watford 0: Inspirational Salah nets four as Reds bounce back|
|Lambert rues Everton´s ´offside´ opener in costly Stoke City defeat|
|Scotland´s late rally leaves Townsend feeling positive for the future|
|Wales hold off France to claim second behind Ireland|
|Man Utd bench Pogba & Sanchez for FA Cup quarter-final|
|Pardew: Evans loss key to Bournemouth defeat|
|Zarco breaks track record to claim Qatar pole after Rossi crashes in practice|
|Ireland had to make every moment count against England – Best|
|Salah breaks Torres´ impressive Liverpool record|
|We are not heroes one day and villains the next – Mourinho continues defence of Sevilla exit|
|Lions bounce back against Sunwolves, Stormers end miserable streak|
|Jones: England losing streak only natural|
|They have many players who´d get in my team – The Sevilla stars Mourinho should buy|
|Mario Gomez will not beg for World Cup place|
|England´s form continues to run cold in Twickenham snow|
|Nibali holds on in Milan-San Remo as Cavendish crashes again|
|Bournemouth 2 West Brom 1: Stanislas piles misery on Pardew|
|Buffon to play on for Italy as Di Biagio calls up uncapped duo|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Crystal Palace 2: Tomkins and Milivojevic secure priceless win|
|Stockdale makes history as ruthless Ireland win Grand Slam|
|Stoke City 1 Everton 2: Tosun at the double after Adam´s early dismissal|
|Simeone insists Atletico can survive injury crisis|
|Ireland´s Stockdale breaks Six Nations single campaign try record against England|
|Leipzig out to halt Bayern celebrations at Red Bull Arena|
|NFL Draft 2018: Jets acquire number three overall pick from Colts|
|Board accepts responsibility for West Ham woes, Brady claims|
|In-form Eriksen hopes he hasn´t hit Tottenham ceiling|
|Roma boss Di Francesco happy with Messi, Barca challenge|
|Bangladesh warned over ´unacceptable´ Colombo behaviour|
|The directors know where to find me - Gattuso awaits Milan talks|
|Laidlaw breaks Italian hearts in Rome|
|UMBC´s March Madness win earns everyone in USA free pizza|
|Zidane focused on Real Madrid players, not Neymar|
|Mourinho´s United rant recalls unhappy Madrid demise|
|Swansea City 0 Tottenham 3: Eriksen leads Kane-less Spurs into FA Cup semis|
|Valverde not worried about Barcelona legacy|
|Markelle Fultz´s return remains a mystery to Brett Brown|
|Bale is happy at Real Madrid, says Zidane|
|Spalletti seeks consistency as Inter prepare for final push|
|Absence of ´best in the world´ Busquets makes Rakitic key for Barca|
|I was out of the game - Halep offers no excuses for Osaka shock|
|Tigers spoil Slater´s 300th NRL game, wins for Penrith and Warriors|
|A-League Review: Sydney stumble again as Jets close gap|
|Highlanders claim derby win over Crusaders, Brumbies beat Sharks|
|Dreadshock! Neymar reveals new hairdo|
|Shakib and Nurul sanctioned for unruly Colombo conduct|
|Villarreal defender Semedo denied bail on attempted murder charge|
|Boots up! - Pietersen career seemingly over|
|Messi: I´m a less selfish player|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Williams|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Renault|
|Thunder claim key win, injury-ravaged Warriors fall to Kings|
|Japanese sensation Osaka blitzes Halep en route to decider|
|Giant-slaying Kasatkina upstages Venus to reach Indian Wells final|
|Coaching Italy would be extraordinary – Mancini|
|J.J. Watt breaks news of Tyrann Mathieu´s deal with Texans|
|Super Bowl champion LeGarrette Blount joins Lions|
|Intensity key to Liverpool toppling Man City, says Klopp|
|Warriors star Durant to miss at least two weeks with rib injury|
|Doc Rivers fined $15,000 for calling officiating ´complete joke´|
|Ravens sign WR Michael Crabtree to three-year deal|
|Tiger stumbles as Stenson and DeChambeau move clear|
|Tiger Woods: I just tried not to shoot myself out of tournament|
|Del Potro to meet Raonic in semis|
|People listen to idiots - Mourinho cites ´dictionary of life´ in extraordinary rant|
|Mourinho tells struggling Manchester United stars to ´grow up´|
|Woods seven off Bay Hill lead after level-par second round|