Nicolas Anelka proved there can be life without Didier Drogba in the Champions League - but Chelsea were made to battle to a 1-0 victory against Porto at Stamford Bridge.

Drogba is banned for the first three Group D matches following his outburst in the aftermath of last season's semi-final defeat to Barcelona and in his absence Carlo Ancelotti's men did not look as threatening.

The Portuguese giants, who had Fernando dismissed, were scenting an upset but Anelka struck just after the break to maintain Chelsea's 100% start to the campaign.

A 20-yard drive from the impressive figure of the aptly nicknamed Hulk bounced off Petr Cech's knees in the fifth minute with the Chelsea goalkeeper totally unaware of the power contained within the shot.

But Chelsea should have been in front two minutes later. The fact they did not capitalise on a fine cross from Branislav Ivanovic was purely down to the heroics of Porto keeper Helton, who punched away Frank Lampard's header.

The home side continued to live dangerously with Cristian Rodriguez flashing an angled drive just wide of the far post in the 13th minute but Chelsea should have gone ahead in the 19th minute when a smart move involving Florent Malouda and Lampard set up Anelka. However, the France international shot straight at Helton when it seemed easier to score.

The English side broke the deadlock in the 48th minute when Kalou, having slipped on the wet turf, poked the ball through to Anelka on the edge of the 18-yard area. Anelka looked to have squandered another chance when Helton saved his initial shot but the ever alert Anelka collected the rebound and sent his second effort into the net at the near post.

Malouda should have increased Chelsea's lead in the 54th minute but he headed Ashley Cole's cross into the side-netting.

Four minutes later Helton produced another stunning save to deny Kalou but Chelsea then lost their purpose and midfield superiority.

Porto almost equalised when Guarin tested Cech with a powerful drive in the 75th minute and the Chelsea goalkeeper then produced another superb save to prevent substitute Silvestre Varela from finding the net with an angled drive.

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Topics:
Branislav Ivanovic
Petr Cech
Didier Drogba
European News
Ashley Cole
Football
Nicolas Anelka
Florent Malouda
Chelsea
Premier League
UEFA Champions League