Irresistable Chelsea blow Schalke away

Schalke 0 Chelsea 5

Chelsea secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League and guaranteed top spot in group G with an utterly convincing victory in Gelsenkirchen.

John Terry headed in the Blues’ fastest goal in the competition, after just 86 seconds, and a Willian finish and Jan Kirchhoff’s own goal put them in control at half-time.

Didier Drogba netted the fourth 15 minutes from time after a selfless pass by Willian and the veteran striker teed up fellow substitute Ramires to add further gloss to the scoreline.

It equalled Chelsea’s biggest away win in the Champions League, matching the 5-0 victory in Galatasaray in 1999.

The irony of Drogba’s late influence will not have been lost on Roberto di Matteo, who masterminded Chelsea’s remarkable European triumph in 2012.

But his new club were outclassed from start to finish as the Blues maintained the impressive standards they have set this season.

With Jose Mourinho’s warning not to leave qualification until the last game still ringing in their ears, Chelsea raced out of the blocks to score inside the first two minutes.

After Diego Costa was denied by an excellent save from Ralf Fahrmann, Fabregas’s corner was nodded in by Terry to give the Blues the perfect start.

Although Chelsea dominated the opening exchanges, Schalke went close when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s deflected effort from 25 yards spun up and hit the crossbar with Thibaut Courtois beaten.

But that was as good as it got for the home side and Mourinho’s side scored twice more before the break to take control.

On 29 minutes, Chelsea sliced through the Schalke defence with a slick move, Willian playing a one-two with Eden Hazard before firing low under the body of Fahrmann.

Then just before half-time, Schalke imploded. Fahrmann did well to smother a Oscar shot but from the resultant corner, Kirchhoff – challenged only by two of his own team-mates – inexplicably headed past his goalkeeper.

Di Matteo’s side returned to the dressing room to a chorus of boos and general indignation, and although the introduction of substitutes Christian Clemens and Max Mayer gave Chelsea’s defence more to think about in the second half, the gulf in class remained.

Branislav Ivanovic leathered a full-blooded volley just past the angle of post and bar but it was a more familiar European goalscorer who came to the fore in the closing stages.

A long Cesc Fabregas pass sent Willian through and he squared for Drogba to tap in for his 50th European goal.

A minute later, the Ivorian crossed for Ramires to nod in the fifth, and only the legs of Fahrmann stopped Eden Hazard making it six.

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas (Schurrle 79); Willian, Oscar (Ramires 75), Hazard; Costa (Drogba 66).
Subs not used: Cech, Zouma, Filipe Luis, Mikel.

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