Chelsea banished the memories of their 2008 Champions League final defeat in the Luzhniki Stadium with an impressive 2-0 victory over Spartak Moscow.
First-half goals from Yury Zhirkov and Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea the momentum to secure a win that now puts them three points clear at the top of Group F.
Victory over the Moscow side at Stamford Bridge in a fortnight's time will guarantee the English champions a first-place finish in the group.
The Blues, who lost on penalties to Manchester United in a heartbreaking final two years ago, returned in style to kill off the challenge from the group's only other unbeaten side.
In the 14th minute Petr Cech was Chelsea's saviour when an outstretched right leg prevented Morais Welliton's volley from sneaking in at the near post. But Chelsea's response was immediate with Salomon Kalou finding Florent Malouda on the edge of the Spartak penalty area but the France international's shot was just wide of Andriy Dykan's left-hand upright.
Chelsea went in front in the 23rd minute when John Obi Mikel's long ball was knocked into the path of Zhirkov, who fired a 25-yard volley into the roof of the net for his first goal for the Blues.
Anelka squandered a chance in the 37th minute when he latched onto a poor pass and ran clear of the Spartak defence. But the France international made up for his mistake with a second goal for the Blues in the 43rd minute.
The Chelsea striker collected the ball after a driving run by Michael Essien and then turned the Spartak defence inside out before placing a low shot under Dykan to score his 50th goal for the club.
Spartak began the second half in much brighter fashion but Ferreira Ari sent the ball high over the bar from the edge of the penalty area in the 47th minute. And Dmitri Kombarov brought a save from Cech in the 59th minute as the home side continued to search for a way back into the game.
Chelsea were under the hammer but they had so far managed to repel the home side, with captain John Terry - who missed the crucial penalty two years ago - in outstanding form and they held on to maintain their perfect record in Europe this season.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms