Chelsea 1-0 Queens Park Rangers: Blues End QPR Cup Dream
For Queens Park Rangers a repeat of their last trip to Stamford Bridge, a 1-0 loss in the F.A. cup.
Joe Cole’s first game since January saw his triumphant return to the Chelsea setup as captain. There were other debutants tonight, but the focus was truly on the Russian winger Yuri Zhirkov, who was picked to operate in a more defensive role. The game finished 1-0 in Chelsea’s favour.
Florent Malouda was the first man off of the starting blocks, striking straight at the Manchester United loanee Tom Heaton. Heaton was called into action five minutes later by Salomon Kalou but again was more than equal to the shot.
The opening ten minutes were explosive at both ends, but the chance of the half fell to a man in a Chelsea shirt when two debutants teamed up: Yuri Zhirkov crossed to Fabio Borini who narrowly headed over.
The Hoops found their best chance just before the half-time whistle. An extra yard of pace from Jay Simpson, would have been a real goal scoring opportunity, Henrique Hilario though, was first to the ball and it was collected easily by the uncapped Portuguese player.
The ball broke quickly and it was Martin Rowlands taking down Salomon Kalou about 35 yards from goal. Juliano Belletti fancied his chance from distance, and rightly so, a powerful effort had Heaton working to push the ball round the posts for the corner. The resultant corner failed to lead to anything substantial and it was nil-nil at the break.
Malouda, whose shooting had been plentiful but not potent, was substituted for free scoring Frank Lampard forcing a reshuffle of the midfield. The Chelsea side took a few moments to get used to the reshuffle with Wayne Routledge blasting down the left hand side and it took Hilario to come way off of his line to rescue the situation.
Direct free kick duties went to Lampard, but Belletti would have been looking over grudgingly following Lampard blasting straight at the QPR wall. True to the form of Chelsea’s hundred percent record, the Blues put their noses in front of their West London rivals, however the manner in which it happened will only frustrate the Hoops’ boss Jim Magilton. A handball shout was turned down, but Chelsea broke; Cole found Kalou in the box, a low shot found the corner to make 1-0.
It’s never a promising sign, when your team have to wait until the second half for your opening corner. QPR were in this situation, but it was the counter-attack that was worrying for the travelling fans as Chelsea looked goal threatening with Borini’s foot.
By no means were QPR out of the game, but the counter-attacking football by Chelsea led Magilton to ask his players to start getting behind the ball. There were no further attacks of comment for QPR as the sailed out of the competition. Chelsea remain unbeatable.