Bel­gian star bags hat trick as Blue­birds are beaten at Chelsea

Wales On Sunday - - SPORT ON SUNDAY - DO­MINIC BOOTH Foot­ball Writer do­minic.booth@waleson­line.co.uk

CARDIFF City were un­done by an Eden Haz­ard mas­ter­class de­spite a spir­ited per­for­mance to be com­pre­hen­sively beaten at Chelsea. The ge­nius Bel­gian winger pro­duced two qual­ity strikes in the first half, af­ter Sol Bamba si­lenced Stam­ford Bridge with an early Blue­birds goal.

Haz­ard then fin­ished the job with an ice-cool penalty af­ter Bamba’s reck­less chal­lenge on Wil­lian - who in turn added a fourth to help the Blues cruise home.

Cardiff had given an ex­cel­lent ac­count of them­selves for the first 80 min­utes of an en­ter­tain­ing af­fair but Chelsea’s qual­ity shone through, par­tic­u­larly through the peer­less Haz­ard.

Neil Warnock, in an ef­fort to con­tinue his side’s im­proved at­tack­ing threat from the pre­vi­ous out­ing against Arse­nal, picked an un­changed team with Bobby Reid again part­ner­ing Danny Ward up front.

Chelsea opted for the more phys­i­cal Olivier Giroud at the ex­pense of Al­varo Mo­rata, as well as the speed of Pedro.

And the first open­ing came for Giroud, the French­man nod­ding over from Ce­sar Azpilicueta’s cross.

The Blues, aided by Mau­r­izio Sarri’s free-flow­ing pos­ses­sion foot­ball that has made them the most pro­lific passers in this nascent Pre­mier League, looked to put the stran­gle­hold on their visi­tors from the word go.

Mid­fielder Jorginho had com­plet- ed the most in­di­vid­ual passes of any top flight player be­fore this game and pre­dictably saw plenty of the ball. Haz­ard probed dan­ger­ously in a free role.

The Bel­gian’s re­verse ball re­leased Mar­cos Alonso in the box, whose cross was al­most turned home by Giroud af­ter nine min­utes.

Cardiff did dis­play that for­ward

Eden Haz­ard cel­e­brates the first of his three goals

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