Chelsea's Didier Drogba celebrates scoring a goal against Valencia during their Champions League Group E match at Stamford Bridge stadium in London on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
Didier Drogba struck twice and assisted one to propel Chelsea to cruise into the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds with a 3-0 home victory over Valencia on Tuesday.
Drogba's third-minute opening goal made a dream start for the blue army. Then the in-shape forward sent a hidden cross to help Ramires score the second midway through the first half. Drogba made the last shot to seal the victory in the 76th minute, boosting the host to the last 16 of the tournament with a top finish in Group E.
Leverkusen, who led the group before the last round tonight, laboured out an unexpected 1-1 away draw against Genk. The German side also entered the next round. While the third-placed Valencia now head for the low-level Europa League.
Elsewhere, Arsenal, another league contender from London, had already booked the last-16 berth before the last round competitions. Though losing to Olympiacos FC 3-1, the gunners still advanced with Marseille. The French strength outscored Dortmund 3-2 and made it confirm its second-finish in Group F.
Barcelona dominated as usual with a fifth group victory on Tuesday. The Euro champion and AC Milan made a 1-2 finish in Group H to progress after the Italian giant tied 2-2 with FC Viktoria Plzen. In Group G, APOEL FC and Zenit St Petersburg both qualified with nine points.
On Wednesday, the last round competitions of the other four groups will be staged on. Then all the last-16 teams will be produced.