Luiz and Mata secure Chelsea victory

Chelsea 2 Bayer Leverkusen 0

David Luiz’s superb second-half strike and an injury-time effort from Juan Mata got Chelsea’s Champions League campaign off to a winning start.

Luiz marked his first appearance of the season with a typically adventurous run and a wonderful curling finish after a fine lay-off from Fernando Torres.

Torres had a number of chances to grab his first goal of the campaign and the Blues, who were inventive and dangerous throughout, were worthy winners.

But Bayer Leverkusen could easily have caused a shock, with ex-Chelsea man Michael Ballack being brilliantly denied by keeper Petr Cech and also seeing a goal cruelly wiped out for pushing.

And Chelsea only made sure of the points through Mata’s simple sidefoot finish after an unselfish pass from Torres.

Torres returned to lead the attack in place of Nicolas Anelka while manager Andre Villas-Boas also took the brave decision to leave both Frank Lampard and John Terry out of the starting line-up.

And although that move was eventually vindicated, the result was in doubt until the 92nd minute.

But the match could have been over within the first 10 minutes, with a hat-trick of chances falling to Torres.

The Spaniard was a fraction away from scoring within two minutes of the start but his glorious volleyed attempt with his back to goal went agonisingly wide.

Torres was then denied by an offside flag when his cute flick from Mata’s centre nestled in the bottom corner.

The effort was wiped off as Raul Meireles, who was in an offside position, was deemed to have got a touch as the ball headed towards goal, but replays suggested he failed to connect.

And £50m striker Torres’ bad fortune continued when his third attempt, after some nifty footwork, was kept out by keeper Bernd Leno’s feet.

Torres was not monopolising misfortune in front of goal, with Simon Rolfes seeing his close-range header very harshly ruled out for pushing by Omar Toprak in the build-up.

But Chelsea were undoubtedly on top and the confident figure of Daniel Sturridge was as impressive as he was in Saturday’s win over Sunderland.

Twice the England Under-21 star smashed rasping efforts at goal, forcing a sprawling stop from Leno with the first and sending the second narrowly wide.

The German side struggled to make an impression before the interval but were much more of a threat after the restart.

Ballack, whose contribution while at Stamford Bridge was recognised with a presentation by chairman Bruce Buck before the game and a standing ovation from the home crowd when he was taken off, had their best chance but saw his effort brilliantly kept out by Cech after a trademark run.

For 15 minutes they looked bright and full of belief, but Chelsea upped the tempo in the final 30 minutes, displaying all the urgency and creativity seen in their recent displays.

Sturridge went close before Luiz settled the nerves with an expertly-taken opener with the game in its final quarter.

And Mata, who was also denied by a sensational one-handed stop by Leno, sealed the victory when he slotted home from close range.