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Chelsea 2 - 0 Schalke


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Chelsea 2-0 Schalke 04

sb4.jpg24 October, UEFA Champions League, Stamford BridgeGoals from Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba saw Chelsea dispatch Schalke 04 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to put the London club on the brink of qualification from their group, and ensure Roman Abramovich had an enjoyable birthday._44196666_drogba_goal.jpgThe three points sees Chelsea three ahead of Norwegian side Rosenborg, who beat Valencia 2-0 in the surprise result of the night. Chelsea travel for the return game in Schalke in two week's time, knowing a victory there would almost guarantee qualification.For the game against the German Bundesliga runner's-up the season before, Juliano Belletti dropped to the bench as Wayne Bridge occupied the left-back spot; making his first start of the campaign. Paulo Ferreira began at right-back for the home side, with Claude Makelele playing alongside Essien and captain Lampard.The game began with Chelsea surging forward, showing signs of good promise. It was only the night before that Avram Grant was asking for more attacking football, and it took just four minutes for Florent Malouda to break the deadlock, albeit rather fortuitously._44196597_malouda_getty.jpgFrank Lampard floated a long ball to Drogba, who used his chest to feed the ball into the path of the French winger. Cut inside and out to leave covering defender Rafinha helpless, Malouda fired a tame shot which went through the hands of Schalke goalkeeper Manu Neuer. However, Chelsea began to sat back allowing Schalke to come forward and attack. The German side were missing talismanic striker Kevin Kuranyi, and their alack of attacking options was obvious as Ricardo Carvalho once again excelled in defence for the West London side. Chelsea were unable to turn the screw, despite have the majority of possession, and were almost made to pay on twenty-eight minutes.Schalke, missing eight players through injury, were left fuming when Carlos Grossmuller's excellent turn and shot was deemed offside, although replays indicated the Schalke player was marginally offside. Ernst went close; firing over with a long-range effort, and Joe Cole produced a decent save from the young goalkeeper between the Schalke posts.Neuer again thwarted Chelsea with an excellent save from a Michael Essien header; the German diving to his left and clutching the ball with two strong hands. But by the beginning of the second half, Chelsea were once again allowed to flourish, and early pressure again paid dividends.Paulo Ferreira was allowed space on the right flank and an excellent cross saw Didier Drogba connect with a fabulous diving header from close range to put Chelsea in the driving seat. Whilst the goal effectively killed the game, it was Drogba's 14th Champions League goal for the club, and his second in the competition thus far this campaign.However, Schalke were determined to make a game of the encounter, and went closest through a header from Larsen. The player's effort cannoned off the post and into the arms of a welcome Petr Cech; the Chelsea goalkeeper worried seriously for the first time in the game._44196671_drog_getty.jpgDecent claims for penalties for either team were turned down when Alex tugged back Larsen inside the penalty area, but Drogba was then hacked down clearly by Bordon, the referee at least consistent.Chelsea: Cech, 6 Ferreira, 6, Alex, 6, Carvalho, 7, Bridge, 7, Lampard, 7, Makelele, 6, Essien, 7, Malouda, 8, Joe Cole, 8, Drogba, 7Subs Used: Mikel, 7, Shevchenko, 6, Kalou, 6Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Ben Haim, Pizarro, BellettiSchalke 04: Neuer, Rafinha, Westermann, Bordon, Rodriguez (Bajramovic 81), Ernst, Jones, Grossmuller (Azaouagh 76), Asamoah (Rakitic 61), Lovenkrands, Larsen.Subs not used: Schober, Howedes. Booked: Jones, Rodriguez. Attendance: 40,910 Referee: Peter Frojdfeldt (Sweden).

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