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Three games, three wins and still to concede a goal. Chelsea FC may have encountered some difficult waters in the Premier League but in the UEFA Champions League they are once again making serene progress through the group stage as Club Atlético de Madrid found to their cost at Stamford Bridge.
All to do
Two goals from Salomon Kalou helped inflict a second successive defeat for the Spanish side who conceded twice more through Frank Lampard and Luis Perea's own goal. Chelsea can seal qualification in Madrid in two weeks' time when Atlético, five points behind second-placed FC Porto, will have it all to do to keep their hopes alive.
There was a lively opening in west London where Atlético knew there was no benefit for adopting a strategy of containment, their predicament of a single point from two games demanding they seek out attacking opportunities. They may also have been encouraged by the way Chelsea had been conceding goals in the Premier League and the latest demonstration of these frailties, Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa FC, cost Ricardo Carvalho his place with Branislav Ivanović installed at centre-back.
Diego Forlán embarked on an early run but failed to trouble Petr Čech with his shot. Then, following Simão's burst of pace that took him beyond Michael Essien, a glorious chance presented itself to the Uruguayan but Čech was equal to his near-post header. Two minutes later and the noisy band of Spanish supporters were ready to acclaim a Sergio Agüero strike as he chased a flick-on with Ivanović slow to respond yet his firm left-footed drive only found the side-netting. The action was coming thick and fast. Next to feature was Lampard as his free-kick was palmed into his own net by Sergio Asenjo but a flag indicating Kalou's offside position spared his blushes.
Kalou then missed badly as Deco and Michael Ballack combined to play him in but he came good four minutes from the break when he turned in Ashley Cole's cross. Atlético's hope of a comeback unravelled within seven minutes of the restart as Kalou scored again. For Asenjo it was a short period of contrasting fortunes. He first denied Nicolas Anelka who had let fly with a shot of real venom. From a throw-in soon after Asenjo had to hurriedly scramble to claw the ball to safety, but from Lampard's ensuing corner he was undone again as the Ivorian striker climbed imperiously at the far post to nod in.
Lampard makes sure
An immediate chance arose for Agüero to reduce the deficit when he was sent clear again but the Argentinian hesitated, allowing Čech to get down and make the save. Chelsea made sure of the points when Lampard played a one-two with Essien before beating Asenjo at his right-hand post from the edge of the box. Substitute Maxi Rodríguez twice came close to a consolation but, in added time, the visitors suffered the final cruel cut as Perea headed Florent Malouda's free-kick into his own net.
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