Chelsea are on course to land their first piece of silverware of the new campaign, after sweeping aside Monterrey with a controlling performance.
A Juan Mata strike got Chelsea on their way, before two fortuitous Monterrey interventions helped command Chelsea’s lead, rendering a late De Nigris strike merely consolatory.
It was the first time goal-line technology was used, but thankfully little controversy surrounding the scoreline, with Chelsea assured in front of a 36,000-strong crowd.
It was a pleasant show of unity from the football community, with the FIFA Club World Cup seen as a nuisance by some, disrupting the national league season.
Chelsea, having already dropped out of the Champions League at the group stage, too showed that cohesion needed to become victors.
Just one minute of action was needed to record the first chance for the Blues. The pairing of Hazard and Oscar interchanged passes and the other in the trio, Juan Mata, nearly provided the finishing touch, were it not for good defending.
The next chance was at the feet of David Luiz. Much-maligned for his defensive deficiencies, but lauded for his attacking prowess, Benitez experimented by playing him in midfield, a risk nearly paying off as the Brazilian’s long-range effort nearly crept in.
A quarter of an hour of real attacking impetus was surely to lead to a break-through, and in the 17th minute, Juan Mata opened the scoring.
An intricate back-heel from Oscar found the oncoming Ashley Cole, whose square pass found Mata to slot home past the Mexicans.
Set-pieces were Chelsea’s next real chances of doubling the lead, with Branislav Ivanovic heading narrowly over.
It was hard to see how and from where Monterrey would come back into the game, but Cesar Azpilicueta was tested frequently, nearly caught out just before the half-time mark.
Against Norsjaelland, Benitez’s mean conceded within the first minute of the restart, so it was refreshing to see within the first minute this time that Chelsea doubled their advantage.
Fernando Torres’ effort was initially drifting wide, but a heavy deflection took the ball inwards. Confusion reigned as the crowd thought it was the rippling of the side-netting, but it was merely an optical illusion, as Rafael Benitez started to look more assured.
Frank Lampard’s time was to come just after the hour mark, replacing the versatile David Luiz, and the Englishman had his fair share of attempts, hitting wide when a through-ball to Victor Moses might have produced more.
The dampener on spirits came in added time, when Gary Cahill played De Nigris onside, for the striker to tuck home past Cech.