Friday, February 26, 2010

Chelsea lost to Mourinho's Inter Milan (Chelsea 1-2 Inter Milan)


Chelsea suffered a first leg defeat to former boss Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan in their Champions League last 16 tie.Inter got off to the perfect start when Diego Milito cut inside and fired in with only three minutes gone.
Chelsea rallied from the early blow and after Salomon Kalou was denied a strong first-half penalty claim he was on hand to fire Chelsea level after half-time.
Parity was short-lived, with Esteban Cambiasso drilling in to give Inter a narrow lead to take to Stamford Bridge.
Predictably, it was Mourinho who took centre stage as it was the first match against the club he led for two-and-a-half seasons, but this was an encounter laden with context.Current Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti led Inter's local rivals AC Milan with aplomb between 2001 and 2009 and this was the first time he has brought a side to the city since leaving for west London last summer.
In addition, there is the added spice that former Champions League winners Mourinho and Ancelotti - the Portuguese with Porto in 2004, the Italian with Milan in 2003 and 2007 - are managers charged with repeating their feat in Europe's premier club competition with their current clubs.

Under Mourinho, Chelsea were often accused of an overly cautious approach that came at the expense of entertainment, but Ancelotti affords his charges greater licence to be expansive and, on the front foot, they are an attractive team to watch.
Unfortunately, they are occasionally susceptible at the back as a result and Inter capitalised on this fallibility with their very first attack.
With the ball won just inside the Chelsea half, firstly Thiago Motta and then Samuel Eto'o fed the ball through for Milito who, with space afforded by Wesley Sneijder's presence, stepped inside John Terry and beat Petr Cech at the near post.
Despite falling behind, Chelsea were not overawed and slowly began to assert themselves on the game, claiming the greater share of possession and attacking with intent.
However, they were limited to a series of long-range efforts by a hard-working home side.Didier Drogba came closest with a powerfully struck 25-yard free-kick which beat Julio Cesar but struck the underside of the crossbar before being cleared to safety.
Ivory Coast international Drogba is the only African player with more career Champions League goals than ordinarily lethal Cameroonian Eto'o.
However, the Inter number nine missed a glorious opportunity to add to his tally of 18 Champions League goals just after the half-hour mark.
Sneijder cut in from the left and drove a low cross over for the centrally positioned Eto'o in plenty of space and only eight yards out but he badly miscued his effort.
The half ended in controversy when a mistake in midfield gave Kalou a clear run on goal, but before he was able to shoot he was felled by a last-ditch tackle from Walter Samuel.
Referee Mejuto Gonzalez waved away calls for a penalty but replays showed that Kalou's heels had been clipped by the defender.
Within five minutes of the restart Kalou's anger had turned to jubilation as he brought his side level.Branislav Ivanovic carried the ball deep into Inter territory, evading a number of challenges, before feeding Kalou 20 yards out and his side-foot shot beat Cesar and found the corner of the net.
Once again the sides were level but only for three minutes.Sneijder's cross from the right was headed away by Ricardo Carvalho to Cambiasso, whose first shot was blocked by Ivanovic but his second, from 18 yards was drilled perfectly into the far corner.It was a decisive blow so soon after Chelsea had deservedly levelled and the Blues never fully recovered their composure.
There were intermittent glimpses of their capabilities; most notably when Drogba and Nicolas Anelka combined for the latter to provide a golden chance for Frank Lampard eight yards out, but Cesar was equal to it.A single-goal first leg deficit will not worry Ancelotti, but the sight of goalkeeper Cech being carried injured from the pitch was more concerning with the season entering a crucial phase.Fears that Cech had badly damaged a knee were dispelled when it was revealed that he had suffered a calf injury.

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