Former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has become the oldest Champions League debutant, keeping a clean sheet in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest in London.
Schwarzer, who recently announced his retirement from international football, made his debut in Europe’s elite club competition at 41 years and 66 days.
After Saturday’s surprise English Premier League defeat at Stoke, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho opted to rest Petr Cech as one of seven changes while England left-back Ashley Cole returned after a spell on the sidelines.
Mourinho’s side had already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, but they needed a victory in their final group fixture at Stamford Bridge to guarantee first place.
Demba Ba’s first-half goal was enough to fulfil that ambition and, while Chelsea were some way from their best, this fairly forgettable encounter could yet prove a significant stepping stone if they go on to have a successful European campaign.
Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal led a sextet of clubs into the last 16 after the final round of group matches.
Dortmund, last season’s beaten finalists, left it late to beat 10-man Marseille 2-1 but topped Group F after Arsenal lost 2-0 to Napoli in Italy.
Napoli can feel hard done by as they, like Dortmund and Arsenal, finished on 12 points but went out on the head-to-head rule.
They can feel especially unfortunate as one of the other clubs to go through, Zenit St Petersburg, finished second in Group G on just six points with just one win and finished their campaign with a 4-1 defeat against bottom side Austria Vienna.
Former champions AC Milan also squeaked through, getting the draw they needed at home to Ajax in Group H, the match finishing 0-0.
Barcelona ensured they finished top by beating Celtic 6-1, with Brazilian star Neymar scoring a hat-trick.
Schalke 04 made it four German clubs in the last 16 by beating Swiss rivals Basel 2-0 in their Group E match while earlier in the day Galatasaray ended Juventus’s hopes of the knockout phase by beating them 1-0 in Istanbul in a match that had to be held over from Tuesday, when it was abandoned after 31 minutes because of snow.