Chelsea sweep into Champions League last 16

London: Chelsea shook off their recent problems with an accomplished performance that secured a 3-0 home victory over Valencia on Tuesday and took them into the Champions League knockout phase for the ninth successive season.

The Londoners needed to win to be sure of advancing from Group E and settled any nerves after three minutes when Didier Drogba did well to make space and fire in a low shot.

Defensive hesitation by Victor Ruiz 15 minutes later allowed Ramires to poke in the second and Chelsea took control from then on, completing one of their best performances of the season with Drogba`s second 14 minutes from time.

Valencia, who hammered Genk 7-0 in their last Champions League match, would have qualified with a score draw but though they had much more possession in the second half they rarely threatened to score.

Having conceded a late winner at Bayer Leverkusen two weeks ago, a goal that secured the German side`s progress, Chelsea went into Tuesday`s match with work to do against their free-scoring visitors.

However, they began full of confidence and after Drogba, who enjoyed a great night, put them ahead early on they never looked back.

It was his through ball that left Ruiz dithering for the second goal and, after missing a great chance in the 73rd minute, the Ivorian striker made amends when he ran on to a perfect pass from the impressive Juan Mata to knock in his second.

Valencia struggled to get a foothold in the match and Sofiane Feghouli`s sharp shot midway through the second half, well saved by Petr Cech, was the nearest they came to scoring. They now head into the Europa League.

Chelsea`s good night was completed when news came through of Leverkusen`s draw at Genk which sent the Londoners into the last 16 as group winners.

Bureau Report

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