Chelsea made it two wins from two UEFA Champions League games after first-half goals from captain John Terry and Nicolas Anelka set the Group F leaders on their way at Stamford Bridge.
Terry struck after seven minutes and Anelka converted a 28th-minute penalty as Chelsea made light of some important absentees to join FC Spartak Moskva on six points in the section. However, it made for an unhappy return to west London for Marseille coach Didier Deschamps, an FA Cup winner with the Blues in 2000, as his Ligue 1 champions suffered a second consecutive defeat after losing 1-0 to Spartak on Matchday 1.
Given that Chelsea were missing strikers Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou through suspension and injury respectively, along with attacking midfielders Frank Lampard and Yossi Benayoun, they could not have made a better start. Having already probed the Marseille defence in the opening minutes, Gaël Kakuta drilled a low corner over from the right and Terry eluded his marker to steer a first-time shot past Benoît Cheyrou who was guarding the near post.
Buoyed by the strike, Chelsea were quick to look for a second with Florent Malouda continuing to torment the visiting rearguard and Anelka forcing a fine save from Steve Mandanda with his fierce angled shot in the 15th minute. The pressure paid off before the half-hour mark, though, when Michael Essien's lofted pass struck Stéphane Mbia on the arm inside the penalty area. Anelka, whose spells with Marseille's rivals Paris Saint-Germain FC had not been forgotten by the visiting fans, dutifully squeezed the spot kick into the bottom right corner.
Marseille, restricted to a couple of hopeful shots from Cheyrou in the first half, came out with more purpose in the second. They got plenty of high balls into the Chelsea area, without carving out any clear-cut chances. Brazilian striker Brandão fizzed a 30-metre shot into the arms of Petr Čech just before the hour and Lucho González hit a thunderous drive after a corner which Ashley Cole did well to deflect away.
Though the momentum was with Marseille, Chelsea very nearly added a third with just over 20 minutes to go when Alex smacked a free-kick against the post and OM's defence managed to clear the danger. They rode their luck again in the 75th minute when substitute Ramires squared for Essien to hit the woodwork, but it was Chelsea's night.
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