Chelsea secured their quarter-final slot thanks to a convincing 2-0 home win against Galatasaray.
The Turkish giants rarely threatened as Terry, Cahill and Cech marshalled the defence excellently. The old adage of “attack is the best form of defence” proved true this evening, as Chelsea’s 20 shots in total often pegged Galatasaray back.
So infrequent were the Galatasaray attacks that they did not even manage to record a single shot on target, despite possessing the talents of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder. The former, welcomed back with a rapturous applause and a Silver Boot presented by Ron Gourlay, also left the field with the crowd on their feet in a night he will not forget. In between, however, Drogba was as much a by-stander as his team-mates.
It means the Blues, who could potentially go into Friday’s draw as England’s sole participant if Manchester United fail to overturn a 2-0 deficit tomorrow, could face either one of three German sides, two Spanish teams, Paris Saint-Germain, or the winner of tomorrow’s Olympiakos match at Old Trafford.
But, for the night, it was Chelsea at their efficient best. Eto’o’s killer instinct in the Champions League returned in the fourth minute of the match as he recorded his 30th goal in the competition, taking a touch to settle himself before firing clinically low past Muslera.
Cahill rifled home Chelsea’s second three minutes before the end of the first half. Lampard’s corner found Terry in acres of space, and when the Chelsea captain headed downwards, it was left for his England compatriot Gary Cahill to shoot home from point-blank range.
The match was over before the second half even started, with Mancini often taking very relaxed and resigned approaches on the touchline. The life was well and truly sucked out of Mancini’s men as Cech recorded a clean sheet in his 100th Champions League game.
Man of the Match
OSCAR: The Brazilian may have suffered a dip in form of late but Oscar deserves praise tonight for his assist in Eto’o’s first goal and his winning of the corner that led to Cahill’s. It must be noted that, to stop Drogba, Terry and Cahill were both at their superb best, as was Lampard, and Hazard’s running and pace baffled Eboue on many occasions, but Oscar’s link-up play and overall contributions were vital. 8/10
Mourinho was full of praise for his side: “To come from [the Europa League last season] to the Champions League quarter-final is important for the players and the club. We are amongst the last eight, the best teams in the world, with all the big clubs. The players deserve to be there.”
Mancini was ashamed of his players’ performances: “Everything went wrong. I would like to apologise to the fans who travelled so far. I feel sorry for our supporters because, for us, they were our best players. We did nothing on the pitch and deserved nothing.”