Anelka puts Chelsea in charge

Comfortable win for the Blues in the European Champions League as Real Madrid are frustrated at Lyon.

    Frustration for Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso as Real are held at Lyon [AFP]

    A brace by Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka either side of the break gave the English champions a straightforward victory at FC Copenhagen in the European Champions League on Tuesday.

    Putting aside their domestic troubles, Chelsea secured a 2-0 win at the Parken Stadium to move closer to the quarter-finals in a chase for their first ever European silverware, easing the pressure on manager Carlo Ancelotti.

    It was not as good news for Real Madrid who were again frustrated after Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis cancelled out Karim Benzema's goal against his former club to clinch a 1-1 draw in the last 16 first-leg match.

    On course

    Chelsea's first win in four matches was a positive sign for Ancelotti but the Italian will be well aware that much harder tests lie in wait as the west Londoners seek to reach the Champions League final at Wembley in May.

    After Saturday's domestic FA Cup exit against Everton, Ancelotti unsurprisingly altered his starting line-up and he made four changes, the most notable being Fernando Torres's return in place of Didier Drogba.

    Chelsea should have been ahead in the early moments if Torres had shown a better first touch when a miscued shot fell to him.

    The Spanish striker's lack of confidence has been clear for all to see since his British record transfer from Liverpool and his woeful control gave Johan Wiland time to come off his line and block the shot.

    Fortunately for Ancelotti, Anelka was in far more predatory mood and the France striker opened the scoring in the 17th minute.

    It helped that Copenhagen, playing their first competitive fixture since December 7 because of their league's winter break, looked rather ring-rusty in the sub-zero temperatures.

    A misplaced pass from former Chelsea winger Jesper Gronkjaer presented the ball to Anelka and he advanced unchallenged before driving in a low shot from the edge of the area that whistled past Wiland.

    Torres had another sight of goal as he twisted past two Copenhagen defenders but his shot from a tight angle was pushed out by Wiland.

    Copenhagen were struggling to stem the tide and Anelka should have done better than shoot straight at Wiland before Torres misfired again when his tame effort failed to trouble the Danish goalkeeper.

    Martin Vingaard came on for Copenhagen at half-time and the substitute almost made an immediate impact with a long-range effort that forced a scrambling save from Petr Cech.

    Vingaard threatened again moments later but Anelka put Chelsea in complete control in the 54th minute.


    Results & fixtures

    Tuesday February 22

     Cop'hagen 0-2 Chelsea
     Lyon 1-1 Real Madrid

    Wed February 23

     Inter v Bayern
     Marseille v Man Utd

    Real looked on course to end a run of three successive defeats at the Stade Gerland when substitute Karim Benzema scored with almost his first touch against his former club midway through the second half.

    But Lyon equalised seven minutes from time when the ball looped off a defender from a free kick straight to the unmarked Gomis who struck from close range.

    Lyon seized the early initiative with the lively Michel Bastos shooting over and Real rarely threatened until Cristiano Ronaldo's long-range free kick was pushed away by the diving Hugo Lloris.

    Gomis missed the best chance of the first half on 34 minutes when his shot was deflected over after Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas failed to hold Bastos's cross on a damp surface after persistent rain.

    The hosts had other chances but Real hit the post early in the second half from Ronaldo's dipping free kick from out wide and Sergio Ramos rattled the bar with a header from a corner.

    The visitors also had a big shout for a penalty turned down before Benzema, cheered by Lyon fans as he came on, struck.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.