Fernando Torres marked his 100th start for Chelsea with a brace in a 3-0 win away to Schalke on Tuesday as Jose Mourinho’s side safely negotiated a tough test in Champions League Group E.
Schalke were punished for slack defending as Torres opened the scoring in the fifth minute and, as the hosts pushed forward in search of an equaliser, the Spaniard netted again at the end of a second-half breakaway.
The oft-maligned forward might even have had a hat-trick, but he hit the woodwork with a header and Eden Hazard ignored the chance to pass to the Spaniard when he went through alone to seal the win late on.
Chelsea were deserving winners as they comfortably soaked up everything that Schalke threw at them in Gelsenkirchen, and the London club now find themselves level with Schalke on six points at the top of the group after Basel were held 1-1 away by Steaua Bucharest in the night’s other game.
|Champions League Results|
Tuesday October 22
Schalke 0-3 Chelsea
With two home matches still to come, including the return against Schalke on November 6, the 2012 European champions look well-placed to avoid a repeat of last season’s group-stage exit.
“I told the players after the Basel match (which Chelsea lost 2-1) that we did garbage and we had to clean it,” Mourinho told British Sky Sports television after the game.
“We did it in the best possible way with two wins away and now we are in good conditions to qualify and we can also try to finish first.”
Mourinho also had praise for Torres after selecting him ahead of Samuel Eto’o, saying: “He is a hard worker. It was a surprise for me because he is not the kind of guy who hides behind the fee Chelsea paid for him. He always gives his best and he is a player I trust and respect.”
A Lionel Messi strike saw Barcelona maintain their two point lead at the top of Group H after drawing 1-1 at AC Milan.
The Argentine struck in the 23rd minute with a fine finish to a breakaway move to cancel out Robinho’s stylish ninth minute opener, which came during a frantic opening period of pressure from the home side.
Barcelona moved up to seven points, with unbeaten Milan in second spot on five, two ahead of Celtic who beat Ajax 2-1 in Glasgow.
Barca dominated the second half against a tired Milan, but despite a couple of good chances couldn’t make the most of their possession and had to settle for a point.
Tied in Group F
Robert Lewandowski scored in the 82nd minute to give Borrusia Dortmund a 2-1 Champions League win at Arsenal.
Lewandowski met a cross from right back Kevin Grosskreutz to side-foot past Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny at the far post for the winner.
Dortmund scored first when Henrikh Mkhitaryan drove in a low shot in the 16th that beat Szczesny after Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey lost possession when he was tackled from behind just outside the area. Lewandowski pounced on the ball and set up Mkhitaryan.
Arsenal equalised in the 41st when Olivier Giroud fired into an empty net from a yard out after a cross from Bacary Sagna caused confusion in the box as Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and center back Mats Hummels attempted to clear the danger. The ball deflected off Weidenfeller’s torso and looped up perfectly for Giroud.
Both teams have six points after three matches in Group F and are equal with Napoli. The match appeared to be heading for a draw in the rain before the late counterattack from Dortmund down the right ensured Arsenal’s first defeat since August 17.
Napoli beat Marseille 2-1 to leave the French club on the verge of elimination.
Spanish winger Jose Callejon opened the scoring in the 42nd minute with a low strike into the bottom corner. Substitute Duvan Zapata curled a shot into the top corner to double the lead in the 67th before Marseille winger Andre Ayew netted a consolation goal in the 86th.