Chelsea FC confirmed their place in the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League as Group B winners after a convincing victory at Rosenborg BK.
At the double
Rosenborg's 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Matchday 1 had prompted José Mourinho's departure from the London club, and Didier Drogba ensured they exacted revenge with a pair of early goals in a clinical first-half display. Alex scored the third on 40 minutes from a long-range free-kick as Chelsea booked their ticket to the last 16 with a game to spare. Rosenborg remain second in the section on seven points and will join Chelsea in the next stage if they avoid defeat against FC Schalke 04 in their final match on 11 December.
The home side had come into the contest just a point behind the leaders following surprise home and away triumphs over Valencia CF, but they were soon chasing the game in Trondheim. Twice Drogba threatened in the opening exchanges before eventually beating Lars Hirschfeld with eight minutes played. The Rosenborg goalkeeper parried Joe Cole's shot from distance only for the rebound to fall to Drogba who fired in powerfully beyond the stranded German.
Marek Sapara came closest for Trond Henriksen's team when he drew a save from Carlo Cudicini with a long-range strike on 12 minutes. Chelsea, though, were providing the real danger and deservedly added a second on 20 minutes. Shaun Wright-Phillips won possession in midfield and picked out Michael Essien in the area after skilfully breaking free from his marker. The ball fell for Drogba who drove into the top corner for his fourth goal in as many games in this season's competition.
Rosenborg were forced to push forward which gave Avram Grant's side space to exploit on the break. Frank Lampard and Essien were running the midfield and the third goal was not long in arriving – Alex scoring courtesy of a low free-kick from 30 metres that skimmed in off the boot of Mikael Dorsin.
Chelsea had lost two of their previous three fixtures in Norway and were determined to improve on that statistic as they carried on from where they had left off after the interval. Wright-Phillips rattled the crossbar soon after the restart after connecting with Drogba's delivery from the right. Then Essien was unfortunate to see his effort cleared off the line by Bjørn Tore Kvarme on 57 minutes, as the visitors continued to menace on the counterattack.
Goalkeeper Cudicini had to turn away Sapara's free-kick as Chelsea withstood a spell of Rosenborg pressure, before the Premier League outfit registered their fourth goal on 73 minutes. Although Essien's powerful shot was kept out by Hirschfeld, it dropped straight into the path of Joe Cole who tucked away the rebound to round off the scoring. A glum night for the Norwegian team.