Sport

Loftus-Cheek hat-trick steers Blues to comfortable win

A Ruben Loftus-Cheek hat-trick inspired Chelsea to a comfortable 3-1 victory at home to BATE Borisov on Thursday night.

On just his second start of the season, it took Loftus-Cheek just two minutes to score his first Chelsea goal since April 2016.

The midfielder made it 2-0 six minutes later, and he sealed an unlikely hat-trick in the second half when curling an effort into the far corner (53).

Chelsea got off to the perfect start at Stamford Bridge, with Davide Zappacosta picking out Loftus-Cheek, who met the cross from 12 yards out before stroking it home.

Loftus-Cheek soon doubled Chelsea’s advantage, turning in Willian’s corner from inside the six-yard area, stealing ahead of team-mate Olivier Giroud.

Chelsea could have extended their lead further before half-time, registering 15 shots in the opening 45 minutes, but Willian saw an attempt saved, while Loftus-Cheek spurned a hat-trick opportunity when heading wide.

After the break, Loftus-Cheek started and finished an attack to complete his hat-trick, picking out Pedro before latching onto the loose ball and tucking an effort beyond goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski, who should have done better with the strike from 18 yards out.

Giroud’s wait for a first club goal of the season goes on meanwhile, and it took a superb reflex save from Scherbitski to deny the Frenchman with 20 minutes to go.

Chelsea were hardly tested all night defensively, but they did go to sleep in the 79th minute, allowing Rios to tap in unmarked from a free-kick.

Aleksei Rios scored a late consolation (79) for the Belarusian side, but victory maintains Chelsea’s perfect start in Europe, and three wins from three in Group L means they are within touching distance of reaching the knockout stages.

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