Chelsea 1-0 Porto: No Drog? No prob – Anelka strike leaves ‘Dragoes’ empty handed

AnilkaPorto leave Stamford Bridge with a case of the Blues.

Porto’s brave performance against a superior Chelsea side was marred by a late red card to Fernando in the two sides’ introductory fixture in the group stage of the Champions League. By winning 1-0, the Blues bucked a motif that had fast developed in the Premier League – having to come from behind to take the three points. Nicolas Anelka, within minutes of the commencement of the second half, scored the games only goal.

Due to a combination of both injuries, and suspensions, Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti was forced to name a vastly inexperienced bench. With academy graduates such as Jeffrey Bruma, Fabio Borini, and Sam Hutchinson among the seven substitutes, Chelsea fans may have been granted a window into the future. As, in the event that the transfer embargo inflicted upon the Stamford Bridge side is upheld by FIFA, Ancelotti may have to call on the aforementioned trio in order to cover January absentees when the Africa Cup of Nations begins.

Aside from a few minor chances from the Portuguese outfit, Chelsea began to stamp their authority early on, with Frank Lampard forcing a seventh minute save from Helton after the versatile midfielder was allowed room to nod goal-ward a free header. Ten minutes later and the rigid rear-guard in front of the Dragoes’ glovesman began to grow in confidence as a strong effort from Anelka was blocked.

Helton was again on guard just moments later when a Florent Malouda, Anelka, and Lampard all combined neatly, with Anelka granted licence to strike again, only for the Brazilian shot-stopper to stand strong during the initial sparring.

Seven minutes before half-time and the home side were issued a warning that they would not be allowed to have it all their way, as Freddy Guarin, a Colombia international, met a looping cross but he guided his header the wrong side of the bar.

During added time, battling Ghanean Michael Essien sent a delicately dinked ball into Lampard’s path. The Englishman, whose movements suggested he had been deployed “in the hole”, passed to Salomon Kalou with aid of a well-judged chested cushion, but right back Jorge Fucile ensured the teams would enter the dressing rooms at half-time with their sheets still clean, as the Uruguayan timed his tackle impeccably.

Anelka spoiled any half-time team-talk that Jesualdo Ferreira issued, as the Frenchman executed an intuitive finish from 12 yards after Helton parried an initial effort.

On the hour mark, the probing Branislav Ivanovic found Kalou but Helton was on guard once more to nullify the threat.

Porto, hoping for rejuvenation in the latter stages, had a chance to level the scoreline 16 minutes from time as Guarin capitalised on a counter, but his skipped shot was denied entrance into Chelsea’s net as headguarded goalkeeper Petr Cech saved with his feet.

A resiliant Porto display, though, was marred slightly with the sending off of midfielder Fernando, who was sent for an early bath after attracting a second yellow for a rash challenge on Ashley Cole. However, maximum points was no less than Chelsea deserved.


~ by footballdirecta on September 16, 2009.

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