Football: Champions League - Chelsea's big night is spoiled by Sutton

DIDIER DESCHAMPS and Albert Ferrer know what it takes to win a European Cup, all the usual ingredients - ability, consistency, luck - plus that little something unexpected.

Last night the pair delivered just that, scoring their first goals in Chelsea colours to ensure the West London club a smooth passage to the next stage of the Champions' League. Deschamps, a champion with Marseilles and Juventus but never previously a goalscorer in 69 European matches, struck after 11 minutes to ease any early nerves. Ferrer, a champion with Barcelona, added a second just before half-time. It was his first Chelsea goal in 58 matches.

Slightly more predictable was the moment that soured Chelsea's joy, a pointless dismissal for Chris Sutton. Having thrown his weight about all night, and been booked for doing so, he needlessly clattered into a defender with two minutes left and received his second yellow card. Unlike his team-mates, he will not be in action when the competition resumes later this month.

Chelsea will find out their opponents at the draw in Switzerland tomorrow. They cannot play Manchester United so will face one of Lazio, Barcelona or Real Madrid, the other top seeds. As second seeds, with Sparta Prague, Valencia and Rosenborg, they could also be drawn with Bayern Munich and Dynamo Kiev who are in the third and fourth pots. That would be a group of death.

Milan would love such a worry, their defeat to Galatasaray in Turkey last night not only allowed Hertha Berlin to move into the next stage of the Champions' League alongside Chelsea but also cost them even a consolation place in the Uefa Cup.

Poor Milan - Gianluca Vialli had done his bit, making it clear from his team selection that he was not going to be tarred with accusations that he sent his team out to draw a "fake match".

Tactically out-foxed in Berlin, he had Graham Rix alongside him in the Stamford Bridge dug-out for the first time since his return from jail and between them they sprung a surprise by including three strikers with Gianfranco Zola and Tore Andre Flo playing behind Sutton. It was a mixed success, but more pertinent was the form of Dennis Wise and shrewdness of Deschamps in midfield and the continuing excellence of Marcel Desailly at the back.

Berlin began brightly with Tony Sanneh twice threatening in the opening five minutes but were soon pushed back. Chelsea's pressure quickly told as Deschamps, seizing on a loose pass from Sanneh, won the ball in midfield then sent a rising shot into the net from 25 yards. "Are you watching Arsenal?" came the chant, a reference to the Gunners' failure to survive the opening round of the Champions' League.

A minute later Flo could have doubled the lead but shot across the face of the goal. Zola, Desailly, Dan Petrescu and Wise all went close as Chelsea searched for the clinching second. It was Wise, the hero of the San Siro, who made it. Rescuing a poor ball from Zola, he traded passes with Deschamps and Flo before finding Ferrer's run with a beautiful chip. The Spaniard scored with great coolness.

Berlin emerged for the second half with two changes in personnel and a significant one in attitude. They knew if Milan won in Turkey - they were 1-1 at half-time - they would need at least two goals in London. Attack was required.

After 51 minutes Sebastian Deisler, showing a rare hint of the talent that has made him the great hope of German football, beat Ferrer on the left, cut inside and hit the far post. Six minutes later Kjetil Rekdal brought a good save from Ed de Goey - his first of the night - with a volley.

Chelsea soon regained control with Flo, again, shooting across the goal when he should have done better and Wise heading into Gabor Kiraly's arms. By then it did not matter, Hertha kept pressing but it was clear they had no Kanu to snatch a 15-minute hat-trick.

Vialli, mixing hyperbole and understatement, said: "It is a great achievement to qualify for the next round, we are very pleased."

Only pleased? After Ken Bates' criticism earlier this week he knew the importance of this result. Reaching the Champions' League had been worth pounds 5m, making the next stage is worth another pounds 5m. Of this, pounds 25,000-a-man was earmarked for the players. A substantial part of the rest may well be destined to service the pounds 7m-a-year interest on the loan for the still incomplete West Stand development.

At the end a small boy had called out to the chairman as he made to leave the directors' box: "Does that mean Luca's staying."

Yes, for the time being at least.

Chelsea (4-3-1-2): De Goey; Ferrer, Hogh (Leboeuf, 65), Desailly (Lambourde, 84), Babayaro; Petrescu, Deschamps, Wise, Zola (Poyet, 63); Flo, Sutton. Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Ambrosetti, Morris, Forssell.

Hertha Berlin (3-5-2): Kiraly; Rekdal, Van Burik, Wosz (Kostantinidis, h-t); Sanneh, Deisler, Helmer (Schmidt, 57), Sverrisson, Michalke; Daei, Preetz (Aracic, h-t). Substitutes not used: Fiedler (gk), Herzog, Neuendorf, Thom.

Referee: K Nilsson (Sweden).

FINAL GROUP H TABLE

P W D L F A Pts

Chelsea (Q) 6 3 2 1 10 3 11

H Berlin (Q) 6 2 2 2 7 10 8

Galatasaray 6 2 1 3 10 13 7

Milan 6 1 3 2 6 7 6

CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE LAST 16

POT 1

Man Utd

Lazio

Barcelona Real Madrid

POT 2

Chelsea Sparta Prague Valencia Rosenborg

POT 3

Bordeaux Porto Bayern Munich Feyenoord

POT 4

Marseilles Hertha Berlin Dynamo Kiev Fiorentina

THE DRAW for the second group stage will take place in Geneva tomorrow. The 16 clubs will be drawn into four groups. Each group will consist of one club from each of four pots. The four group winners from the first group stage with the best Uefa co-efficients are in pot 1. The other four group winners are in pot 2. The four group runners-up with the best co-efficients are in pot 3. The other four group runners-up are in pot 4. Clubs from the same country cannot be drawn into the same group; nor can clubs from the same first-stage group.

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