LONDON (AP) — Demba Ba scored a rare goal as Chelsea advanced in the Champions League as group winners with a 1-0 victory over Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday.
On a night when the Romanian visitors offered little threat, Ba turned the ball into the net from close range after 11 minutes at Stamford Bridge.
It was just the third goal the Senegal striker had scored in 12 appearances this season, and he missed another chance at the start of the second half when he struck over from six yards (meters).
Chelsea had wrapped up qualification last month despite losing at Basel, which also won their Group E opener in September but still finished third.
By securing top spot ahead of Schalke, Chelsea, which won the Europa League last season, will play one of the group runners-up in the round of 16 in February.
Chelsea's defense proved to be sturdier in Europe again on Wednesday, in contrast to its domestic showing.
This was Chelsea's fourth clean sheet in six Group E matches, with the only goals conceded to Basel.
In the Premier League, though, the Blues have conceded 17 goals already, two more than in the whole of Jose Mourinho's first season in charge — 2004-05 — when they won the 2004-05 title.
Chelsea's misfiring strikers have been as much of a concern for Mourinho, and Ba's effort against Steaua was initially given as an own goal.