The striker, who so often has appeared burdened by his £50m price tag, netted a scrappy opener after 16 minutes and a headed second after 70 minutes to double his tally for 2013, while Victor Moses was also on target for the Blues. But the first leg was not altogether straightforward for last season's UEFA Champions League winners as Bebras Natcho converted a penalty after John Terry was adjudged to have blocked a shot with his arm.
Chelsea are well placed to advance to the last four in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium - scene of their 2008 Champions League final penalty shootout defeat to Manchester United - but the away goal could yet have a crucial bearing on the outcome.
Andre Villas-Boas' hopes of lifting the Europa League for a second time hang in the balance thanks to a woeful defensive performance in Tottenham Hotspur's 2-2 draw with Basel, coupled by a serious-looking injury to Gareth Bale.
Basel arrived in north London with a reputation for giant-killing after last year's defeat of Manchester United and Bayern Munich. The Swiss champions lived up to the hype tonight, scoring two impressive away goals, but their task was made much easier by some questionable Spurs defending. Valentin Stocker punished Kyle Naughton's slow marking by slotting home the first and a shell-shocked Tottenham were 2-0 down by the 34th minute when Fabian Frei was left alone to head home a corner.
Emmanuel Adebayor's fifth of the season and Gylfi Sigurdsson's second-half effort brought the scores level, but the two away goals leave Villas-Boas' men in serious danger of exiting the competition at the quarter-final stages. Spurs went into the match in good spirits after Saturday's win against Swansea, but the Londoners were sloppy in possession at times and their reliance upon William Gallas, who had a particularly poor game, will worry their fans as they head into a tense final quarter of the season. A stoppage-time injury to star man Bale, who had to be carried off on a stretcher with an ankle problem, will only add to those concerns.
Newcastle start strong but fade fast in Lisbon
Newcastle United are very much up against it following a 3-1 defeat to Benfica in Lisbon. Newcastle got off to a terrific start at the Estadio da Luz, taking the lead in the 12th minute when Papiss Cisse turned in a Moussa Sissoko cross, and they almost netted again soon after, Cisse's shot deflecting off Ezequiel Garay and hitting the post.
Two minutes after that, Benfica were level, Rodrigo reacting quickest to stab home after Tim Krul had beaten out a powerful shot by Oscar Cardozo from the edge of the box. Cisse hit the post again at the start of the second half on a wet night in Lisbon, but Newcastle only had themselves to blame when they conceded again in the 65th minute.
Davide Santon was short with a pass back to Krul, and Lima pounced to round the goalkeeper and slid the ball into an empty net. Three minutes later Benfica won a penalty when Steven Taylor handled in the area, and Cardozo scored from 12 yards to give the Portuguese league leaders a 3-1 victory.
In tonights only Europa League match not featuring an English side, two late goals finally broke the resistance of ten-man Lazio and handed Fenerbahce a clear advantage after the first leg of quarter-final in Istanbul.
Pierre Webo's 79th-minute penalty and Dirk Kuyt's last-minute finish ensured the hosts eventually made their second-half pressure pay. Ogenyi Onazi's red card three minutes after the break handed the initiative to the Turks, but, after hitting a post and seeing a succession of other chances come and go, they looked in danger of being frustrated.
But January signing Webo held his nerve after Stefan Radu had handled in the area to opening the scoring and Kuyt added a second on the rebound at the death. It all leaves Lazio with plenty of work to do in the second leg in Rome.