Chelsea stay top with 2-0 win over Schalke

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London, Oct 25: Chelsea consolidated top spot in Champions League Group B with a 2-0 win over Schalke 04 at Stamford Bridge.

Florent Malouda opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer allowed the French winger's tame left-foot drive to slip through his hands and legs into the net.

The home team made sure of victory two minutes into the second half when Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba nodded in a right-wing cross from Paolo Ferreira yesterday.

Chelsea now have seven points from three games while Schalke are bottom on three points.

''We can play better but overall it was a positive performance,'' coach Avram Grant told reporters.

''We scored two goals and could have scored a few more. This puts us first in the group with seven points and that's a good situation for us.'' Although the Londoners thoroughly deserved their victory, Schalke could consider themselves unlucky on two counts.

The Germans seemed to have a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside in the first half when Carlos Grossmueller slid the ball in from close range despite being level with the last defender.

ESCAPE AGAIN

Chelsea were then fortunate to escape again in the closing stages when Swedish referee Peter Frojdfeldt ignored a blatant shirt-pulling offence just outside the box from Brazilian defender Alex as Soren Larsen was running clean through on goal.

The victory was the perfect gift for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich on his 41st birthday but Schalke coach Mirko Slomka bemoaned his team's misfortune.

''I felt we could have achieved more tonight but both goals came at very bad moments,'' he said. ''The second one particularly was a bitter blow.

''I thought we were a bit unlucky at times and if a second-half header (by Larsen) hadn't hit the post it could have changed the game.'' Larsen had been brought into the team as a last-minute replacement for Kevin Kuranyi.

Kuranyi was named in the original starting lineup but pulled out after tweaking the knee injury he sustained in training on Tuesday during the warmup.

Slomka was critical of keeper Neuer, saying: ''The last two games he has made important mistakes and unfortunately today's came right at the start''.

Reuters
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