Champions League: Chelsea, Nordsjaelland in Penalty Extravaganza
By the time the halftime whistle sounded Wednesday night in West London, Chelsea and Nordsjaelland had already made UEFA Champions League history.
In the first half of the 6-1 Chelsea victory alone, the Group E match saw Dutch referee Bas Nijhuis award three penalties. All three resulted from handballs in the box, and both teams had one saved.
The three penalties tied a Champions League record, as did the two misses (via Infostrada Sports). The last time a Champions League match featured two penalty misses was a September, 2010, match between Arsenal and Partizan Belgrade (via @OptaJoe).
Meanwhile, Chelsea keeper Petr Cech demonstrated again his value to his club.
2 - Since the start of last season, Petr Cech is the only goalkeeper to save more than one penalty in the CL (excluding shootouts). Hero.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 5, 2012
The fun began in the 31st minute, when the visitors Nordsjaelland won a penalty after the ball struck Chelsea defender Gary Cahill's hand. Cech saved Nicolai Stokholm's weakly taken kick, keeping the score level and prompting countless Stockholm Syndrome jokes.
View the save in this video.
Chelsea won a penalty of their own moments later, but Eden Hazard also saw his shot saved. That penalty can be viewed in this video.
Chelsea won a second penalty—the third of the match—in the 38th minute. Defender David Luiz stepped up and rammed the ball home for the game's opening goal. That penalty can be seen here and in the video above.
Fernando Torres added a second goal for Chelsea before the break. The Blues took over in the second half and won 6-1 in a rout.
Even with that lopsided win, Chelsea crashed out of the Champions League. The defending champs needed Shakhtar Donetsk to defeat Juventus in Group E's other match Wednesday night, but Juventus won on Olexandr Kucher's own goal in the 56th minute.
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