Chelsea wins 3-0 at Schalke in Champions League
GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Fernando Torres scored twice as a clinical Chelsea won 3-0 at Schalke to replace the German club at the top of Group E in the Champions League on Tuesday.
On his 100th start for Chelsea, Torres scored with a simple header after being left unmarked at the far post to meet Branislav Ivanovic’s flick on from a corner in the fifth minute.
Torres effectively sealed the result on a counterattack in the 69th, and Eden Hazard wrapped up the scoring three minutes from time on another breakaway.
“The score is too high. It’s very, very annoying to concede so early,” said Schalke coach Jens Keller, who rued the “three, four missed chances.”
“A team like Chelsea doesn’t allow more,” he said.
Steaua Bucharest drew 1-1 at home with Basel in the other group game, meaning Schalke is second behind Chelsea on goal difference.
Chelsea had been playing catch-up after starting the group with a surprise defeat at home to Basel.
“It was an important victory for us,” said Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, who won the Champions League at Schalke’s stadium with Porto in 2004.
“I told the players after the Basel match that the performance was garbage and we had to correct it, and we have with two consecutive victories away from home,” Mourinho said.
Schalke failed to really trouble Chelsea’s compact defense despite dominating possession, with Jose Mourinho’s side content to sit back and defend the early lead.
“We were lucky to score the first goal early,” Torres said. “In the second half, the individual quality made the difference.”
It was only near end of the first half that Chelsea seemed under pressure.
Kevin-Price Boateng, back in Schalke’s starting line-up after a knee injury, forced a fine save from Petr Cech in the 39th, and Roman Neustaedter tested the Chelsea goalkeeper from the resultant corner.
The next corner led to a goalmouth scramble, with Benedikt Hoewedes’ back-heeled effort going wide.
After absorbing the pressure before halftime, Chelsea went back after the break. Torres’ header from Frank Lampard’s free kick crashed back off the underside of the crossbar, but his second goal came after Max Meyer lost the ball in midfield.
Oscar surged forward and did well to hold off Jermaine Jones’ despairing challenge, before sliding it across for Torres to take it past the goalkeeper with his first touch and slot into an empty net.
Hazard scored late when Ramires sent him through to shoot in off the far post.
“We were the better team, but didn’t get ourselves together for the (opening) goal. Then Chelsea played it cleverly,” Meyer said.