It was a case of third time lucky for FC Schalke 04 as they defeated Chelsea FC 3-1 to book a place in next month's UEFA Youth League semi-finals, where they will face either FC Barcelona or Arsenal FC.
First-half goals from Sebastian Starke Hedlund – a penalty – and Maurice Multhaup helped the German side build a solid platform, and although John Swift reduced the arrears midway through the second half, a third from substitute Florian Pick ended Chelsea's run.
Schalke had lost home and away to the Londoners in the group stage but if they were daunted by the prospect of another reunion, they certainly did not show it. Instead, they began positively and grew in confidence from the fifth minute when Leroy Sané was impeded by Dion Conroy in the area, Starke Hedlund slotting in the penalty.
A strong run from the impressive Jeremie Boga was the first reminder of the power Chelsea have brought to the inaugural tournament, but they struggled to replicate the incisive football that had helped them score 22 goals in their seven previous European games, all of which had been won.
Indeed, it was Schalke who continued to fashion the better chances, Mitchell Beeney coming to the hosts' rescue with vital saves from Adis Omerbašić, Pascal Itter and Multhaup. The Schalke striker made no mistake in the 44th minute, however, finishing decisively into the far corner following a dazzling run from Sané, the game's stand-out player.
That came 60 seconds after Andreas Christensen had headed against the bar at the other end. Chelsea must have thought the fates were against them at that stage, but they rallied strongly after the break and gave themselves hope with 25 minutes remaining when Swift curled in a smart shot from the edge of the area for his sixth of the competition.
Chelsea kept on the offensive but always looked vulnerable to Schalke breakaways. Marvin Friedrich should have put the issue beyond doubt on 74 minutes, but Pick easily beat Beeney soon after to wrap up a convincing victory.
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