AUXERRE (France) (Reuters) Nine times champions Real Madrid were forced to wait for a late Angel Di Maria goal to earn them a 1-0 win at Auxerre during an unconvincing display in their Champions League Group G match on Tuesday. Second half substitute Di Maria volleyed home from inside the area nine minutes from time to send Real top of the group standings on six points, two ahead of AC Milan who were held to a 1-1 draw at Ajax Amsterdam. Auxerre were on the back foot throughout the match but proved dangerous on the break and under-pressure Real defender Pepe even headed the ball against his own post from a cross shortly before Di Maria broke the deadlock. The home side were content to reach the interval with a clean sheet after Olivier Sorin pulled off some good saves to deny Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, who cost more than three times Auxerres 30 million euro ($40 million) annual budget. It was a very difficult match, (Auxerre coach) Jean (Fernandez) prepare it very well tactically, Real coach Jose Mourinho told French TV channel Canal Plus. It is important to have six points before playing AC Milan, but a draw would maybe have been logical. Fernandez agreed a draw would have been a fair result. Its kind of Jose to say that. I actually also think a draw would have been well deserved, he said. HANDBALL Although Real were clearly the better side, they were often stretched by Auxerres counter-attacking skills. Sergio Ramos and Pepe sometimes proved shaky at the back, especially against long balls. In a packed Abbe Deschamps stadium, Real got off to a good start when Ronaldo forced Sorin to parry a low shot from just inside the box in the 15th minute. The Real strikers, however, were also out of sorts. Karim Benzema gave another terrible performance and Gonzalo Higuain had an attempt cleared off the line by Kamel Chafni. Karim has a lot of talent but he needs to play with more character, said Mourinho. When I came here, this team had defence problems. Now we are more solid but we still need to find our stride in attack. The players need some time. After the break, Auxerre looked more composed and Ireneusz Jelen collected a through ball only for the Poland striker to fire just wide at the hour. Real stepped up a gear after Karim Benzema was replaced by Mesut Ozil and Di Maria came in for Lassana Diarra. Just as an embarrassing goalless draw loomed for Real, Argentine Di Maria chested the ball down in the area before volleying into Sorins bottom left-hand corner. Auxerre players protested to referee Claus Bo Larsen as it appeared that Sergio Ramos handled the ball before setting up Di Maria. I think the referee made a mistake. Its frustrating to lose this way after all our efforts, said defender Cedric Hengbart. Auxerre continued to push hard but Mourinho had replaced Higuain by defensive midfielder Mahamadou Diarra and Real were able to hold on. Real Madrid next face AC Milan at home on Oct. 19, while Auxerre travel to Ajax Amsterdam. Chelsea expose gulf in class with Marseille Premier League Chelsea exposed a gulf in class when they defeated French champions Olympique Marseille 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday. Chelseas superiority was so great in a one-sided Group F match, especially in the first half, that the match was over as a contest long before halftime even though they failed to add to John Terrys and Nicolas Anelkas goals scored inside the first 28 minutes. Marseille manager Didier Deschamps, a former Chelsea favourite and an FA Cup winner with the Blues in 2000, marvelled at Chelseas performance afterwards, saying he believed they were one of the favourites to win this seasons competition, despite a recent mini-slump domestically. We were dominated both physically and technically, there was a huge gulf in class between the two sides, Deschamps told reporters. Chelsea had a very effective first half and we lacked a bit of aggression. Although we did better in the second half, you have to say they could easily have scored a third. I am a realist. We came here full of ambition, and full of hope, and despite the fact they had some of their main players missing they were still full of internationals. We were vastly inferior in the first half at least and Chelsea remain one of the favourites to be champions of Europe. They were so solid and efficient. Marseille could have done with the kind of industrious midfield graft that Deschamps was famous for in his pomp. Instead, their midfield was overrun by Chelseas with Michael Essien the dominant force, helping Chelsea to take a stranglehold on the game after Terry scored with a deft flick from a Gael Kakuta corner after seven minutes. They effectively sealed the points when Anelka scored with a 28th-minute penalty. ANCELOTTI DELIGHT Underpinning every attack was an inspired Florent Malouda, who tormented the Marseille defence with his jinking runs and invention. French youngster Kakuta also terrorised his compatriots with a glittering performance on the other flank. Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, happy for his side to avoid a third successive defeat after losses to Newcastle United and Manchester City in the past week, was delighted. It was an important result after those two defeats, which we can now forget about, he told reporters. Now we have six points, we are top of the group and have a good chance of finishing first. But it was not an easy game because I think Marseille played well and created a lot of chances. The second half was difficult, we played well defensively but could do better in possession, but we had a lot of chances in the second half. We hit the post twice. It was a good game. Despite missing Didier Drogba, suspended against his former club, and the injured Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou, Chelsea could have had an even more emphatic victory as both Alex and Essien hit the post with long-range efforts in the second half. Anelka, booed by the French fans still clearly miffed at his antics at the World Cup when he was sent home early from South Africa, stroked his penalty past stranded goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Ancelotti saw nothing wrong with Anelkas almost casual stroll up to the spot. He was not concerned by the French fans booing him. He is always calm, always peaceful and the main thing was he scored.