On this day: Chelsea eliminated from Champions League

On this day in 2012, Chelsea were knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage, despite recording a 6-1 victory over Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea went into their final fixture in the group stages of the Champions League in 2012 aware that they needed results to go their way if they were to avoid becoming the first holders of the trophy to exit the competition before the knockout rounds.

Dropped points earlier in the campaign against Shakhtar Donetsk and Juventus had left Chelsea in third position, and while they were required to beat Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge, they also needed the Serie A club to fall to defeat in the Ukraine.

A heavy defeat in their previous fixture in Turin had resulted in the departure of Roberto Di Matteo, with former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez arriving in West London to a frosty reception, and the Spaniard hadn't got his tenure off to the most positive starts in the Premier League.

Benitez left Brazilian playmaker Oscar on the bench for the match against the Danish minnows, but his omission didn't stop Chelsea dominating the opening exchanges, with Fernando Torres and Juan Mata both being denied by Jesper Hansen.

Torres wasted a flurry of opportunities during a five-minute spell as Chelsea peppered Nordsjaelland's goal, but against the run of play, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Gary Cahill was deemed to have handled the ball inside the area, but Petr Cech came to his team's rescue with a save from Nicolai Stokholm.

Chelsea's Brazilian defender David Luiz celebrates scoring a penalty during their UEFA Champions League group E football match against FC Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge, London on December 5, 2012© Getty Images

Three minutes later, Chelsea earned a penalty of their own, but Eden Hazard saw Hansen make a fine stop down to his left, but the Blues were not going to be denied in taking a deserved advantage, with David Luiz firing the ball into the top corner after a third spot kick had been awarded in the space of eight minutes.

The Danes appeared as though they were going to hold out until the break, but after failing to find the net on half-a-dozen occasions, Torres finally scored, tapping home into an empty net after his initial effort had been blocked.

As it stood at half time, Chelsea were still exiting the competition with Shakhtar and Juventus remaining goalless, but they needed to keep their focus on their own fixture after Joshua John netted in the opening seconds of the second half to bring Nordsjaelland back into the match.

However, it didn't take long for Chelsea to re-establish their foothold in the match. Just five minutes had passed when Cahill rose above the Dane's defence to power a header into the bottom corner, before Torres poked home from inside the six-yard area to give the Blues a 4-1 lead.

However, news was emerging from Ukraine that Juventus had taken the lead in Donetsk, which left Chelsea requiring Shakhtar to score twice in the final 30 minutes to rescue their Champions League campaign.

Fernando Torres of Chelsea scores his team's fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Chelsea and FC Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge on December 5, 2012© Getty Images

Chelsea continued to go about their business in West London, and they soon made it 5-1 when Mata jinked his way into the penalty area before being left with a simple finish after Hansen had made a fantastic save from his first attempt.

Oscar had been introduced into the action, and he wasted little time in making his mark on the match by sliding the ball past Hansen after being played through on goal by Mata.

With the competitive nature of the match over, all eyes and ears turned to the match in Donetsk, but with their qualification already ensured, Shakhtar failed to trouble the Juventus defence sufficiently to overturn their deficit, and the Italian outfit eased to an away success.

Chelsea were applauded by their home supporters for their performance in seeing off Nordsjaelland, but the reality was that the European champions were bowing out of the competition before Christmas for the first time in the history of the Champions League.

After the turn of the year, Benitez revitalised Chelsea by guiding them to the Europa League trophy, while also earning qualification for the following season's Champions League. However, it wasn't enough to win over the club's fans, and he was replaced by Jose Mourinho during the summer.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Sunderland during their Premier League match on December 4, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool23138254282647
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
10Watford2475123344-1126
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
12Bournemouth2467112536-1125
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton2349102334-1121
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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