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UEFA Champions League
October 22, 2013
• Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen
Referee: V. Kassai
• Attendance: 54442
Fernando Torres 5', 68'
E. Hazard 87'
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, tonight. Thanks for following today's game with me and, until next time, farewell!
Chelsea, meanwhile, will be delighted with tonight's showing. Though they looked in danger of losing control towards the end of that first period, the Blues dominated the second half and ended up seeing out the three points with consummate ease. The continued return to form of Torres is also cause for celebration as Mourinho's side, on tonight's performance, look as though qualification for the knockout stage is nothing but a formality.
Schalke will be disappointed with both the result and the performance tonight, particularly in the second half. However, they could posit that, had they converted any of those chances that fell their way towards the end of the first half, it could have all been so different. In the end though, it wasn't and Chelsea won at a canter. Nevertheless, the German outfit remain in a strong position in their group and will now be looking to cause an upset at Stamford Bridge.
90' + 3'
And the referee brings an end to proceedings! Courtesy of a double from Torres and a lovely individual effort from Hazard, Chelsea claim the three points in a thoroughly satisfactory victory.
90' + 2'
Luiz almost makes it four in the final minute, striking from distance but getting his effort slightly wrong, catching the ball nicely but slicing it wide of the post.
90' + 1'
The game, as one might expect, is winding down as Schalke reflect on what could have been; they had their chances and they might reflect ruefully on those chances spurned towards the end of the first half.
As three minutes injury time are called, Schalke continue to pass the ball around on the periphery of the Chelsea midfield. They haven't particularly impressed in this second period and can't really argue with the final score.
Goal Eden Hazard
GOAL! And it's Hazard for the third! In a similar manner to the second, Chelsea counter through the Belgian, this time courtesy of a Ramires pass. With Torres beside him, Hazard chooses to go alone, using the Spaniard as a dummy before driving into the area and placing the ball into the far corner with aplomb. He took that really well and that, I think it's fair to say, is that.
Ivanovic causes Cech some problems with a slightly wayward header back to his goalkeeper, forcing his teammate to dive to prevent the ball from going behind for a corner. He manages it though and Chelsea build from the back once more.
Luiz replaces Oscar, coming into the centre of the park as Mourinho reinforces his ranks as we enter the final stages of this encounter. It doesn't appear necessary, given Schalke's current body language, but you can never be too careful I suppose!
Schalke appear to have given up all hope of getting themselves back into this; they're allowing Chelsea to stroke the ball around with consummate ease and, in all honesty, you wouldn't rule out the Blues getting a third here.
Torres almost turns provider as he is inches away from finding the foraging Oscar in the Schalke box. The ball is a mite too strong, however, and Hildebrand claims.
Draxler attempts to thread Uchida, bursting through the Chelsea backline, through but Terry is there once again, stepping in and clearing with consummate ease.
Uchida continues to receive the ball on the right wing and attempts to find Meyer with a cross, though its just a tad overhit and Chelsea deal with the danger.
Chelsea continue to enjoy the lion's share of possession as we approach the final stages; Lampard tries his luck from distance but it's a disappointing effort, the veteran dragging wide of the far post.
Lampard threads Torres through but Matip does well to overpower the striker, evidently eager to get his hat-trick. Schalke look to build again but they're not having much luck at the moment, Chelsea's ranks are simply too densely-packed.
John Obi Mikel
Meyer turns really well on the edge of the Chelsea area before feeding Clemens, coming forward down the right. His cross is blocked by Terry, however, and its out for a throw. The veteran centre-back has looked imperious at the heart of the Blues' defence tonight.
Chelsea react to their goal in their own way, producing Mikel in place of Schurrle as Mourinho is clearly intent on seeing this match out.
Schalke look to respond immediately by making two substitutions, one of which brings about the departure of the disappointing Boateng - he's been really ineffectual tonight, though, in fairness, he was operating in an unfamiliar position. Szalai comes on for him - let's see if an orthodox striker can change things!
Goal Fernando Torres
GOAL! It's Torres and it's quite beautifully worked! The Spaniard has Hazard to thank as he dispossesses Schalke deep in their half, side-stepping two challenges before allowing Oscar to take over and run at Jones. The Brazilian duly outpaces the midfielder before squaring for the unmarked Torres, who, in turn, rounded the keeper and placed into an empty net to make it 2-0! A quite lovely goal - excellent work from all three of them!
Yellow Card Roman Neustädter
Schalke have another corner after a long range effort from Neustadter is deflected behind. And Howedes goes close from the set piece! Jones does well at the back post to get up and head across the area, allowing the Schalke centre back a header on goal. Howedes can't quite direct his effort goalwards, however, as it flashes behind the post and wide for a goal kick.
Torres, who seems to be even more eager to impress in this second period, turns on the ball and runs at the Schalke defence. He attempts to put it one side of Matip and run the other but the defender does well, tackling adeptly and halting the Spaniard's run.
Jones attempts to get forward but Oscar, backtracking well, intervenes and plays the ball back to Cech in the Chelsea goal. There is a brief hold-up in play as Jones himself goes down, suffering from some kind of knock.
Torres does well down the right after receiving the ball from Hazard, turning Matip inside and out on the wing before eventually electing to play the ball back to his Belgian teammate.
Aogo, once again, finds some space on the left wing and crosses dangerously. Cech sees fit to intervene, palming away adeptly, allowing his defenders to complete the clearance.
From the ensuing corner, Torres, surprisingly dominant in the air tonight, heads goalwards but can only find the side-netting from Lampard's delivery.
Lampard threads a nice ball through to Torres, who puts a dangerous ball into the area. With the Spaniard out wide, however, there is no-one to meet it in the middle and the chance goes begging, though Hazard does eventually retrieve the ball and earn his side a corner.
Schalke appeal, somewhat resignedly, for another penalty but there's nothing doing, and quite rightly so, as Terry shepherds the ball away from Clemens and back to Cech in the Chelsea goal.
Schalke haven't started particularly strongly in this half, they have still yet to test Cech as its been a scrappy opening to proceedings in the second period.
Yellow Card Gary Cahill
Cahill earns a booking for a hefty challenge on Boateng in the middle of the park. The England international can have no real complaints there - a clumsy challenge.
Schurrle comes inside from the left and runs at the Schalke ranks. He does well initially but ends up showing too much to Neustadter, allowing the German to nick in and thwart any potential danger.
Clemens finds Uchida, pushing forward once again, down the right but the Japanese can't make use of the space effectively, instead playing off the backtracking Azpilicueta for a corner.
Torres hits the bar! Lampard curls in a free kick and the Spaniard flicks a header goalwards from some distance. It's an excellent header and is oh-so-close to going in - a couple of inches lower and it would've been 2-0!
Draxler concedes a free kick on the edge of his area, bringing down Hazard after the Belgian's quick feet outdid the 20-year-old German prodigy.
Schalke appeal for another penalty, this time claiming a handball from Gary Cahill after Draxler crossed into the area. Nothing doing though as the referee deems it unworthy of a penalty.
Yellow Card Jones
Ramires does well to drive forward from midfield but the Brazilian is cynically bodychecked by Jones, earning him the first booking of this evening's contest.
Schalke continue where they left off in the first period, pushing forward and trying to cause Chelsea some problems. Neustadter tries to play off Ivanovic for a corner but misses him, instead finding the arms of Cech.
And Chelsea get us underway in the second half! Let's see if the Blues can hold on to that one-goal lead established in the first period.
Chelsea, meanwhile, will be slightly disappointed with that half, even though they go in at the break with a one goal advantage. In the aftermath of that Torres opener, they've sat back and, though they initially looked comfortable enough, they've struggle to contain Schalke more and more as we approached half time. Mourinho will surely be looking for his players to trouble the opposition's defence more in the second period - if they go on soaking up pressure, it's difficult to envisage Schalke not scoring.
Schalke have, in stark contrast to their opposition, grown stronger as the half has wore on. After the shock of that early goal, they garnered a foothold on the game and enjoyed the lion's share of possession. Though their marauding full-backs have caused Chelsea problems down the wing, they have yet to capitalise on such pressure and will need to both create and take more clear-cut chances in the second half if they are to take anything from this game.
45' + 1'
After a fairly unremarkable minute of added time, the referee calls time on an intermittently exciting first half! Chelsea started well but tailed off towards to the end; regardless, they go into the break one goal to the good.
Neustadter, who's done well in this first half, dispossesses Schurrle and feeds Boateng, allowing the makeshift striker to run at Terry. He is duly overpowered by the centre back, however, and Schalke lose possession as a result.
Things finally calm down as the Blues afford themselves some respite with a spell of possession. Their lead has looked increasingly precarious as the half has wore on, Mourinho might be looking to reinvigorate his side at the break.
Schalke continue to cause Chelsea problems as Azpilicueta is forced to block a Draxler effort! Aogo, once again causing problems down the left, whipped a cross in, allowing Meyer to head down to his German teammate, who duly swivelled and fired an effort goalwards, only to hit the Chelsea left back on the knee. The pressure is mounting here - the Blues will be glad to hear the half time whistle as this rate.
It's pandemonium in the Chelsea area! First of all, Neustadter forced a smart save out of Cech from the corner, the Czech goalkeeper tipping over after the German headed goalwards. The ensuing corner was then delivered into the box, causing a goalmouth scramble as the Blues provided incapable of clearing. It was eventually backheeled wide by Clemens though, much to the Blues' relief.
Schalke continue to toil in search of space and almost make something happen, testing Cech twice in the space of two minutes! First, Aogo whipped a dangerous ball into the area, forcing the Chelsea goalkeeper to palm unconvincingly away. Then, Boateng picked up the ball some 30 yards out before striking goalwards, forcing Cech to tip the ball over the bar.
Hazard almost manages to make something happen for Chelsea as he goes on a winding run, twisting this way and that before finding himself in the area. Clemens does well to get his body inbetween the Belgian and the ball, however, and any potential danger is averted for the home side.
Schurrle, who has looked intermittently bright in the opening stages, tries to get forward down the left but is thwarted by Uchida. Chelsea build again as Ramires and Torres attempt to link up, only for the latter's pass to be intercepted by Jones.
Draxler threads Boateng through but, as both players seem to know, it's futile as the latter is way offside. That wasn't even close to tight - he's got to time his runs better, in all honesty.
The home side continue to enjoy the lion's share of the possession but, as has been the case for much of this half, they don't particularly look like troubling the visitors tonight. Draxler attempts to make something happen and is duly balked by the backtracking Ramires.
Schalke resume their control of possession as Chelsea continue to sit back and invite their German counterparts on to them. Howedes aims long for Boateng but the former Milan midfielder, operating as a striker today, is ruled offside.
Chelsea, who, in all honesty, have been a bit lax since that opening goal, retain possession well, looking to create something - a feat they haven't managed since Torres' opener.
Schurrle does outstandingly well to shimmy his way past a couple of players down the left but, in the end, finds himself crowded out, only eventually succeeding in giving the German side a throw. Still, that was quite lovely from the winger.
Azplicueta, who isn't particularly enjoying the pressure that Uchida is putting on him, does well to tackle the right back after Neustadter puts him in down the wing once again. Somehow, the referee awards a goal kick, much to the home support's annoyance.
Boateng halts Schalke's momentum as he gifts Chelsea a throw with a quite woeful ball out, attempting to find Draxler. Both players were meant to be the main dangers in this one but they have yet to really trouble the away side.
Neustadter threads Uchida through as Schurrle appears to lose concentration, struggling to track the marauding right back. The German does, however, do just enough to put him off as the Schalke player ends up striking well over the bar. Probably their best chance of the game thus far.
Uchida and Aogo are actually operating at wing-backs at times; Jones is dropping back from midfield alongside Matip and Howedes at centre-back, allowing the full-backs to surge forward and provide the home side with some width.
Howedes attempts to set Uchida away down the right but he telegraphs his path and Azpilicueta sees the potential danger, coming across to intercept and put out for a throw.
Schalke begin to put pressure on Chelsea as Aogo, getting forward down the left once again, forces Ivanovic to slide and put his cross behind for a corner. Terry does well to head the subsequent corner clear.
Hildebrand's footwork is suspect once again as he makes another hash of a clearance, the goalkeeper coming out to clear as Howedes shephered the ball back to him under pressure from Torres. Luckily, the clearance falls to a defender and any potential danger is averted.
Ivanovic gets forward down the right, afforded space by the marauding Aogo. His cross is cleared by Howedes but only to the feet of Oscar, who duly shoots goalwards. In actual fact, however, his shot is anything but goalwards, eventually finding its way out for a throw-in as the Brazilian gets it all wrong.
Chelsea haven't threatened much since that opening goal but they still look as though they're in control of this clash. They've resumed their strangehold over possession in the past minute or so.
Aogo almost steals in behind the Chelsea defence but is caught offside from Draxler's pass. It was a tight one but it's a correct call and, in any case, the left-back was thwarted by Cech anyway. Still, a warning sign for the Blues there!
Both Schalke full backs, Aogo and Uchida, are really pushing on down the wings, practically operating as wing backs. That could cause the Blues some problems as this game progresses, though they have yet to really trouble the away defence as of yet.
The referee angers the home supporters once more, once again choosing not to give a foul as Uchida goes down under pressure from Schurrle. The Schalke manager is irate on the touchline but the full-back did appear to just lose his footing.
It's the Blues' turn to enjoy a spell of possession now as they stroke the ball around the midfield area. Oscar temporarily loses it but slides in on Meyer to retrieve the ball, inciting the ire of the Schalke support, only for the referee to deem it it a fair challenge.
Schalke are enjoying a nice spell of possession, though they appear in little danger of penetrating the Chelsea ranks. Uchida attempts to make something happen, whipping in a ball from the right. Boateng meets it but is unable to do anything with the header, only succeeding in heading into the arms of the grateful Cech.
Aogo whips in a dangerous ball from the left but no-one is anywhere near meeting it from the Schalke ranks. One can't help but wonder what might have been had Huntelaar been fit to play?
Torres attempts to break through the ranks of the Schalke defence once more but Oscar plays the ball a mite too late, meaning that his Spanish counterpart is caught offside. The Chelsea striker looks eager to impress in the opening moments of this game.
Jones attempts to find Uchida with a searching ball but stand-in left back Azpilicueta does well to spot the danger and intervene. Chelsea are definitely in the ascendancy in these early stages, they look confident and in control.
Chelsea continue to look the stronger of the two teams as Hildebrand makes a mess of a clearance, kicking to the feet of Lampard about 40 yards from goal. The veteran midfielder attempts to shoot from range but the Schalke goalkeeper claims with ease.
It'll be interesting to see how Schalke bounce back from that early blow; they have a raucous crowd behind them but a while longer chasing this lead and their spirits could be significantly dimmed.
Assist Branislav Ivanovic
Goal Fernando Torres
GOAL! And it's Fernando Torres! Chelsea capitalise on their second corner of the game as Ivanovic gets his head on Lampard's delivery, directing the ball towards the far post. The Spaniard is there to tap home with ease and the Blues are one goal to the good already!
Schalke appeal vehemently for a free kick just outside the Chelsea area as the ball appears to hit Azpilicueta's hand as the Spaniard attempts to clear. It did hit his hand but he appeared to know very little about it, in fairness.
Lampard's corner is headed clear to the edge of the box where Schurrle, returning to his home country, takes the ball on the chest before launching a hopeful effort goalwards. Hopeful is the operative word, however, and it flies harmlessly over the bar.
Torres gets in the first strike of the day, turning on the ball in the box and firing goalwards. The effort is fairly tame but it's deflected and goes behind for a corner.
And we're underway in this Champions League Group E clash! Schalke kick off proceedings as they look to retain their unbeaten record in Europe this season.
As the Champions League anthem rings out around the stands, we are minutes away from kick off here in Germany!
Chelsea, meanwhile, also choose to make wholesale changes from the side that romped to a 4-1 win over Cardiff on Saturday as Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Oscar, Andre Schurrle and Fernando Torres all replace David Luiz, Ryan Bertrand, Willian, Juan Mata and Samuel Eto'o in the starting eleven.
Schalke make a host of changes from the side that won 3-2 against Eintracht as, perhaps most notably, Kevin Prince Boateng returns from injury to start, displacing top scorer Adam Szalai from the starting eleven. In the continued absence of the injured Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the German outfit start with no recognised striker.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Lampard; Hazard, Oscar, Schurrle; Torres. Subs: Schwarzer, David Luiz, Bertrand, Mikel, Willian, Mata, Eto'o.
Schalke: Hildebrand, Uchida, Howedes, Matip, Aogo, Neustadter, Jones, Clemens, Meyer, Draxler, Boateng. Subs: Fahrmann, Hoogland, Felipe Santana, Kolasinac, Goretzka, Fuchs, Szalai.
And here come the team line-ups:
While their two clean sheets in the Champions League suggests its a distinct possibility, their domestic defensive performances suggests otherwise. Though they sit fifth, they have leaked 19 goals in nine games, at least ten more than anyone else in the top five. Nevertheless, their attacking prowess leaves them just nine points off Bayern in first, meaning that Chelsea should underestimate them at their peril. Tonight could be a close one!
Schalke, meanwhile, go into this game in a commanding position, having beaten Steaua Bucharest and Basel to go top of the group. The German outfit are also yet to concede a goal in the group, winning 3-0 against the former and 1-0 against the latter. Still, Chelsea should prove tougher opposition and it'll be interesting to see whether Jens Keller and his men can retain their impressive defensive record when faced against the likes of Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres and Oscar.
But, thanks to that 2-1 defeat at the hands of their Swiss counterparts, Chelsea would be stuck on three points after three games should they lose here - by no means an irrevocable situation but certainly not an envious one. Off the back of some sterling domestic form (they are yet to drop points in October), Mourinho will be hoping his team can triumph here and ensure themselves an easier ride in the latter stages of Group E.
Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea outfit come to Germany for a game that, courtesy of their surprise defeat at Basel earlier in the competition, has been imbued with a greater importance than many anticipated when the groups were announced. Schalke are widely recognised as Chelsea's greatest threat in the group so the initial thinking was that a draw (or even a defeat) when facing them away from home would be far from disastrous - the Blues could have picked up points against the weaker teams (Basel and Steaua Bucharest) and still have qualified comfortably.
Good evening and welcome to live coverage of tonight's Champions League clash between Schalke and Chelsea, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through tonight's proceedings.
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