Chelsea through despite losing to Basel

Basel 1 Chelsea 0

Chelsea went through to the knockout stage of the Champions League despite Mohamed Salah’s 88th-minute winner.

They needed a point to be sure of progressing from Group E but Schalke’s goalless draw away to Steaua Bucharest gave them a helping hand on a tough night for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Egyptian forward Salah worried them on several occasions before getting in behind Branislav Ivanovic to collect a long ball and fire past Petr Cech.

And there is concern for Samuel Eto’o, who was carried off on a stretcher after suffering what looked like a nasty injury.

With a hectic December approaching and only two other out-and-out strikers in the squad, Chelsea will hope Eto’o does not face a long spell on the sidelines.

Their immediate priority was to progress from Group E, which they have done with a match to spare despite two defeats at the hands of Basel, who also beat them at Stamford Bridge in September.

The Swiss outfit were impressive again and keeper Cech, making his 450th Chelsea appearance, had to be alert to punch Taulant Xhaka’s early free-kick clear and dealt with several other deliveries into the danger area in the first half.

And Basel would have gone ahead had John Obi Mikel not been on hand to clear off the line after a corner had dropped to Ivan Ivanov.

The home side continued to press and Cech was called into action again, this time keeping out a shot from Salah, who sent another effort wastefully wide.

Chelsea had to make a change three minutes before the break when Eto’o sustained what appeared to be a groin injury and was replaced by the fit-again Fernando Torres.

Eto’o was hurt while stretching for the ball 40 yards from goal and immediately crumpled to the ground in pain.

Mourinho again left out Juan Mata, who was named among the substitutes along with Torres and Eden Hazard.

With his team having looked much more solid in the opening stages of the second half, Mourinho replaced Oscar with Hazard and the visitors enjoyed a decent spell.

But they were undone late on and Sergey Diem then missed a golden chance to make it 2-0 when he volleyed over.

Chelsea: Cech Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Mikel, Lampard, Ramires; Oscar (Hazard 55), Willian (De Bruyne 86), Eto’o (Torres 43).
Subs not used: Schwarzer, Cole, Mata, Schurrle.



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