Fernando Torres celebrated his 100th appearance for Chelsea in style by inspiring his side to a comfortable Champions League away win with two goals in a 3-0 win over Schalke in Gelsenkirchen. The Spaniard, continuing the form he displayed before his recent injury, put Chelsea in front after just five minutes before adding a second just before the hour mark. Eden Hazard made the scoreline more emphatic with a third, three minutes from time.
The win means that Chelsea now join Schalke on six points at the top of Group E, having recovered from their shock opening loss at home to Basel. For the Bundesliga side it was a perhaps unsurprising result given a difficult start to the season and a rash of injuries that saw them without striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jefferson Farfan, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Marco Hoger.
The two changes to the Chelsea lineup were by choice, with David Luiz paying the price for his error against Cardiff at the weekend, and being replaced by Gary Cahill, while Branislav Ivanovic came in for Ryan Bertrand. The one-sidedness of the result will delight Jose Mourinho, who appears to be starting to make his mark in his second spell in charge.
Things looked good for the visitors early on. Ivanovic got the merest of touches with his head to a Frank Lampard corner and the ball went through to the back post where Torres stopped to head past Timo Hildebrand.
And a decisive second goal arrived in the 58th minute. Schalke were left poorly exposed with a trademark Mourinho break from inside his team’s own half. Hazard started it and quickly found Oscar who led a three-on-one counter attack to the edge of the Schalke box before just squaring it for Torres to take it past the goalkeeper and finish comfortably. It was a similar scenario that led to a third goal late on. This time Hazard went all the way himself. Faced up by just one defender and Torres making the run to his side, the Belgian moved into the area before firing low past Hildebrand on his left foot.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.