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Schalke fall to clinical Chelsea

FC Schalke 04 0-3 Chelsea FC
Fernando Torres scored twice on his 100th Chelsea start as the Blues replaced their Bundesliga opponents at the top of Group E.

Schalke fall to clinical Chelsea
Schalke fall to clinical Chelsea ©UEFA.com

Chelsea FC moved into pole position in UEFA Champions League Group E with a 3-0 victory at FC Schalke 04.

Strikes in either half from Fernando Torres and a late third courtesy of Eden Hazard sufficed to complete the Blues' recovery from their matchday one defeat by FC Basel 1893. The win brings the English team level on points with their hosts, who, in spite of their spirited attempts to get back into the contest, drop behind their Premier League opponents into second on goal difference.

There was intent from both sides from the first whistle, though the Bundesliga outfit soon found themselves chasing the game. Five minutes had elapsed when the Schalke defence failed to deal with a Frank Lampard corner, giving Torres the opportunity to nod in at the far post and mark his 100th Chelsea start with a goal.

The setback did little to diminish the Gelsenkirchen club's endeavours. With a vociferous home crowd baying for an equaliser, visiting goalkeeper Petr Čech did well to maintain his focus and divert a Dennis Aogo effort away after the left-back was threaded in by Julian Draxler.

Schalke were dominating possession, with Aogo and fellow full-back Atsuto Uchida causing problems on each flank. Still, chances remained scarce until the returning Kevin-Prince Boateng fired in a bolt of a shot from distance on 39 minutes. Čech needed both hands to push it over and was forced into action again straight afterwards as Roman Neustädter – scorer of Schalke's weekend winner against Eintracht Braunschweig – headed goalwards from the resulting corner.

The interval upset Schalke's momentum somewhat and Chelsea twice came close to profiting from the lull. Again Lampard and Torres combined from set pieces, with the Spanish international first glancing a free-kick against the crossbar before heading into the side netting from a subsequent corner.

Christian Clemens cajoled the home fans with a long-range drive but as the Royal Blues poured forward in search of a leveller, Chelsea pounced. A mistake in midfield from young Max Meyer allowed Hazard to burst forward and feed Oscar, who held off the advances of Jermaine Jones to set up Torres for his fifth goal in his last five UEFA Champions League outings.

Hazard then finished off another breakaway three minutes from the end to make absolutely sure of José Mourinho's first competitive victory as a coach in Germany.

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