Schalke 0-5 Chelsea: Blues book place in Champions League last-16 with dazzling victory

first_imgChelsea progressed to the Champions League knockout stages with an outstanding 5-0 victory at Schalke.The Blues thoroughly outclassed their opponents, led by former player and Champions League-winning manager Roberto Di Matteo, and enjoyed the perfect start when captain John Terry opened the scoring inside two minutes.Willian’s thumping strike and an own-goal from defender Jan Kirchhoff saw Jose Mourinho’s men enter the break 3-0 up, while Didier Drogba came off the bench to net his 50th European goal and then set up fellow substitute Ramires to seal a rampant win.The result sees Chelsea, who continued their unbeaten start to the season, open up a comfortable lead at the top of Group G, booking their place in the last-16 with 11 points from five games.It was a direct start from the hosts, trying to find talisman goalscorer Huntelaar – who scored a wonderful goal at Stamford Bridge in the sides’ previous 1-1 draw – in the box with a searching ball from the right.But the Blues launched a counter attack when the danger was cleared and, from the resulting corner, they took an early lead when skipper Terry nodded in straight from the set-piece.Having failed to fire on all cylinders in their last outing, a poor 1-1 draw with Slovenian minnows Maribor, there was a different sense of urgency from a Chelsea side desperate to make the next round.Eden Hazard was always eager to get in behind the back-four, but failed to really shine, while Cesc Fabregas proved a constant menace with a series of crafty passes.On the 11 minute mark Mourinho’s men were one pass away from doubling their lead, with Costa bustling down the left and cutting back for Hazard in the middle of the box, but the chance was scuppered by a brilliant last-ditch interception.Chelsea dominated the opening stages, but Schalke were a whisker away from snatching a fortunate equaliser when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting saw his 25-yard effort deflect off Gary Cahill and over the head of a stranded Thibaut Courtois, only for the crossbar to come to the Blues’ rescue.But Mourinho’s side refused to let the scare affect their play and they soon added to their tally with a wonderful team goal, Brazilian winger Willian playing a neat one-two with Hazard on the edge of the box before firing low and hard to beat ‘keeper Ralf Fahrmann.The Londoners were breathtaking in the final third at times, with their quick movement and slick passing bamboozling the German outfit’s defenders, but they were perhaps guilty of trying to walk the ball into the net as a few too many touches gave Schalke opportunities to clear.Costa had a gift of a chance to make it 3-0 moments before the break, bursting clean through and nipping round the goalkeeper, but the Spaniard lost his footing at the vital moment, with a slip seeing his scoring window pass.But the striker’s blushes were spared when an own goal handed the visitors a third goal to all-but wrap up the win, Kirchhoff heading into his own net from a corner as the hosts continued to struggle at set-pieces.You would have forgiven Chelsea if they slowed the tempo after the break, but still they kept coming forward, with Branislav Ivanovic going close to a fourth goal when he flashed a volley just over the bar.Schalke did improve as the second period went on, getting more time on the ball as the Blues perhaps called it a day and began to sit back, but the hosts failed to really trouble Courtois in the Chelsea net.Mourinho’s men remained a threat on the break, but despite a number of flowing moves and clever passes, their insistence to score the perfect goal was their downfall as Costa and Willian both lost possession in promising positions around the box.Costa eventually made way for club hero Drogba, and the Ivorian made up for his team-mates’ wastefulness by notching his 50th European goal with a simple finish after unselfish play from Willian, who masterfully brought down a long ball forward and squared for the striker to tap in.Chelsea then netted a second goal in 90 seconds with their next attack, Drogba turning provider this time as he drove down the left channel and crossed for fellow substitute Ramires, who leapt like a salmon to nod in at the back post and put the icing on a comfortable win. Chelsea hero Didier Drogba celebrates his 50th Champions League goal 1last_img read more