Sunday 28 December 2014

Bridge too far for Drogba and Galatasaray as Chelsea stroll into Champions League last eight

Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Published 18/03/2014 | 21:51

Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho gestures during their Champions League soccer match against Galatasaray at Stamford Bridge in London March 18, 2014.        REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN  - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Winning
Chelsea's John Terry (centre) heads the ball clear during their Champions League soccer match against Galatasaray at Stamford Bridge in London. Photo: Reuters/Eddie Keogh
Galatasaray's Didier Drogba (left) controls the ball ahead of Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta during the UEFA Champions League, Round of Sixteen match. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Chelsea fans sit beneath a banner of Galatasaray's Didier Drogba. Photo: Reuters/Eddie Keogh
Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini gives instructions on the touchline. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Former Chelsea player Tore Andre Flo applauds the fans during the half-time interval. Photo: Nick Potts /PA Wire

Didier Drogba's return to Stamford Bridge ended in defeat as Chelsea beat Galatasaray 2-0 in Tuesday night's Champions League last-16 second leg to progress to the quarter-finals.

Jose Mourinho warned of a dangerous tie poised 1-1 after the first leg in Istanbul three weeks ago, but four minutes into the second leg his side regained the advantage before advancing into Friday's last-eight draw with ease, 3-1 on aggregate.

Drogba, scorer of 157 goals in 341 appearances over eight years for the Blues, including the decisive penalty in the 2012 European Cup win, was expected to be the main protagonist of the contest.

But it was another 30-something African striker who found the net with the first attack as, for once, the Ivorian faded into the background on the big occasion, with Eden Hazard the outstanding forward on display.

Samuel Eto'o showed his predatory instinct to fire the Blues in front at the end of a move started by Hazard and Gary Cahill added a second before the interval to give Chelsea a commanding two-goal advantage.

Chelsea were unable to add to their tally, but did not need to.

Roberto Mancini's visitors were a distant second best throughout and offered up little resistance as the former Manchester City manager's return to England ended in a limp loss.

Given Manchester United and Tottenham face two-goal deficits - on Wednesday against Olympiacos in the Champions League and on Thursday at Benfica in the Europa League, respectively - it is possible Chelsea will be the only English club in Europe come Friday's draws.

Their immediate attention now turns to Saturday's Premier League showdown with Arsenal, where Mourinho's leaders will hope to put the controversial loss at Aston Villa firmly in the past in Arsene Wenger's 1000th game as Gunners boss.

Wenger was branded a "specialist in failure" by Mourinho last month.

CHELSEA 2 GALATASARAY 0 (CHELSEA WIN 3-1 ON AGGREGATE)

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