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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 21:35 GMT
Chelsea rout Lazio
Lazio 0-4 Chelsea
Hernan Crespo celebrates scoring for Chelsea

Chelsea turned in a clinical performance to thrash Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico and take command of Champions League Group G.

Hernan Crespo opened the scoring, while Eidur Gudjohnsen, Damien Duff and Frank Lampard also found the net as Chelsea demonstrated a ruthless streak after Lazio were reduced to 10 men.

But the match was stained by the indefensible behaviour of Lazio defender Sinisa Mihajlovic, who kicked Adrian Mutu before spitting in his face.

It was a shameful exhibition by the Yugoslav, who was banned by Uefa three years ago for directing racist remarks at Arsenal's Patrick Vieira.

Mihajlovic was eventually dismissed after 52 minutes and Chelsea, who had Glen Johnson dismissed in the closing stages, made the most of their numerical advantage to pick off their ragged opponents.

Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri opted for a strong, attacking team that included Crespo, Mutu, Juan Sebastian Veron, Duff and Lampard.

And Ranieri's decision was quickly vindicated when Chelsea scored after 15 minutes.

Former Ipswich goalkeeper Matteo Sereni should have dealt with Veron's driven cross but could only palm the ball into Crespo's path, who bundled home from short range.

Chelsea continued to push forward with crisp, incisive passing and movement.

Full-backs Johnson and Wayne Bridge found a lot of space and peppered the Lazio area with dangerous crosses.

Duff and Lampard both had shots blocked, while Crespo narrowly missed with a spectacular overhead volley.

Lazio, poor in the opening stages, responded to the boos from their own supporters and rallied briefly before the break.

They might have equalised close to half-time but Bernardo Corradi headed wide when well placed.

The footballing endeavours of the home team, however, paled when compared to the disgusting antics of Lazio defender Mihajlovic, who followed a deliberate kick at Mutu by spitting in the striker's face moments later.

Both incidents went unpunished by the referee.

KEY MOMENTS
15 mins: Crespo opens the scoring
34 mins: Mihajlovic spits in Mutu's face
46 mins: Sereni denies Crespo
47 mins: Cudicini brilliantly saves from Corradi
52 mins: Mihajlovic is sent off
70 mins: Gudjohnsen scores
75 mins: Duff scores a superb goal
80 mins: Lampard completes the rout
90 mins: Johnson goes off after receiving a second yellow card
And Chelsea's frustrations were compounded in first-half injury time when Crespo should have scored from close range, but did not connect fully and saw his shot saved by Sereni.

Lazio thought they had an equaliser minutes into the second half but Carlo Cudicini saved first from Dejan Stankovic and brilliantly from Corradi.

Mihajlovic's shambolic antics should have come to a conclusion after 52 minutes when he was dismissed for a second yellow card after a cynical hack at Duff.

But the defender refused to leave the touchline immediately after his dismissal and eventually had to be escorted down the tunnel by a Uefa official.

Chelsea at first struggled to maximise their advantage and Cudicini made superb saves to deny Stankovic and Corradi.

But substitute Gudjohnsen took the match beyond Lazio after Sereni could only parry Lampard's drive.

Duff danced through the Lazio area before slipping the ball home for his team's third goal.

And Lampard capitalised on another parry by Sereni to slot home Chelsea's fourth.

But the match ended with Chelsea's Johnson being dismissed after picking up two yellow cards.


Lazio: Sereni, Zauri, Couto, Mihajlovic, Favalli, Stankovic, Liverani, Albertini (Muzzi 71), Fiore (Negro 58), Corradi, Inzaghi (Lopez 71).
Subs not used: Casazza, Dabo, Giannichedda, Sergio Conceicao.

Sent off: Mihajlovic (52).

Booked: Mihajlovic, Liverani.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Johnson, Gallas, Terry, Bridge, Veron (Cole 76), Makelele, Lampard, Duff, Crespo (Gudjohnsen 67), Mutu (Gronkjaer 57).
Subs not used: Ambrosio, Huth, Geremi, Hasselbaink.

Sent off: Johnson (90).

Booked: Mutu, Cudicini, Johnson.

Attendance: 50,000.

Referee: Valentin Ivanov (Russia).






WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Conor McNamara
"Chelsea were ruthless"


Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri
"Everybody was fantastic"




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