Friday, April 25, 2014   

(Champions League) Demba Ba strike lifts Chelsea
(12-12 11:02)

Demba Ba ensured Chelsea finished top of Champions League Group E as the Senegal striker clinched a 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest in London.
Chelsea needed a victory in their final group fixture at Stamford Bridge to guarantee first place.
Ba's first half goal was enough to fulfil that ambition and, while Chelsea were some way from their best, this fairly forgettable encounter could yet prove a significant Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer finally made his Champions debut, while England left-back Ashley Cole returned after a spell on the sidelines, AFP reports.
Schwarzer became the oldest Champions debutant at 41 years and 66 days, and also the second oldest in the league.
It took Chelsea just 11 minutes to break down Steaua's feeble resistance.
Oscar took advantage of Steaua's sloppy marking and rose to head Willian's corner towards the far post, where Ba got the final touch ahead of Bucharest's Daniel Georgievski, bundling the ball into the net from virtually on the line for just his third goal of the season.
Chelsea's defense parted with alarming ease moments after they took the lead.
Gabriel Iancu surged clear of John Terry and looked odds on to score, only to drag his shot wide with just Schwarzer to beat.
Branislav Ivanovic almost doubled Chelsea's lead midway through the first half, but the Serb's powerful header from Eden Hazard's cross was tipped over by Ciprian Tatarusanu.
Ba should have delivered the knockout blow early in the second half, but he somehow managed to lift his close-range effort well over the bar from Willian's cross.
Steaua's total lack of goal threat ensured Chelsea rarely needed to overly exert themselves in a moribund second period.
Substitute Andre Schurrle injected some life into the closing stages when he jinked into the penalty area and tested Tatarusanu with a low strike.
Tatarusanu could only push the ball back into the six-yard box, but Hazard was unable to capitalise on the rebound as the Belgian headed over.
Ba had a strike ruled out by a debatable offside call in the closing moments, but it was already mission accomplished for Chelsea.

   
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