Eto'o pounces twice as Chelsea close on last 16

Wed Nov 6, 2013 6:20pm EST
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By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - Samuel Eto'o rolled back the years to score two different types of goal as Chelsea beat Schalke 04 3-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to virtually guarantee their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Eto'o, 32, who has won most of the major honors in the game - including the Champions League with current Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho when they were at Inter Milan - gave his best Chelsea performance yet since his summer move from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

He pounced on a mistake by Schalke goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand to put Chelsea ahead after 31 minutes and showed composure to add the second in the 54th minute. Demba Ba, who replaced Eto'o after 77 minutes, completed the scoring with a mis-hit volley six minutes later.

The result means Chelsea need just one point from their final two Group E matches to reach the last 16. Schalke remain in second place with the knockout rounds still a realistic target.

Mourinho, who made six changes from the side that lost 2-0 to Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday, brought in Eto'o because Fernando Torres was injured, and was full of praise for him afterwards.

"My favorite players are the players that win matches for me, not the ones that lose them, and Samuel worked with me in the best season of my career when we won everything. So he is in a good position," the Portuguese said.

"For two years he was playing without a big motivation, and when you play without motivation you train without motivation and you lose condition and sharpness and your appetite, so it was not a surprise for me that he arrived not in the best condition after two years in Anzhi.

"Now step by step he is good, and naturally he is a fit, slim guy, and he is intelligent and goals give you confidence. The first goal was a fox goal, the second is a very good collective goal, and Samuel's movement was brilliant."   Continued...

Chelsea's Samuel Eto'o acknowledges the crowd as he is substituted during their Champions League soccer match against FC Schalke 04 at Stamford Bridge in London November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez