Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chelsea 2-0 Stoke City


Chelsea cruised into semi finals of FA cup by defeating Stoke City 2-0 with an energetised performance by captain John Terry.
John Terry will grab the headlines for all the right reasons after scoring Chelsea's second goal to help them sink Stoke and reach the FA Cup semi-finals.
The home skipper has been the subject of a host of allegations about his private life of late, but headed in a Frank Lampard corner to seal the win.
Lampard himself opened the scoring when his 20-yard drive was deflected in.
Stoke rarely threatened, and only then from set pieces, as holders Chelsea set up a last-four clash with Aston Villa.
And it was perhaps fitting that Terry - so revered by the Chelsea supporters - should have grabbed the hosts' all important second goal as the 29-year-old ended another difficult week on a high.
The centre-half has undoubtedly been off colour in recent weeks during the fallout of the newspaper revelations, but this was a determined return to his best from the Chelsea captain, both in defence and attack.

And while he may have been barracked by a small section of England fans during the midweek friendly defeat of Egypt, there is no doubting the regard he is held in by the Stamford Bridge faithful.
There is little argument that recent weeks have seen Chelsea endure the most difficult period of their season so far.
The Terry saga has been well documented, injuries to Petr Cech and Ashley Cole, among others, have uncovered something of a soft centre to their squad, and consecutive defeats to Inter Milan and Manchester City have all seen their campaign stutter of late.
But this might prove something of a turning point for the Londoners following a performance that saw them grow in stature and confidence the longer the game went on.
This was always likely to be a match-up of Chelsea's guile and Stoke's physicality - and so it proved.
Cech's absence has meant a run in the Blues goal for Hilario, but the Portuguese keeper is simply not in the Czech's class and he looked vulnerable throughout against the visitors' barrage at set pieces.
As early as the fifth minute Stoke could have made the most of a Rory Delap throw, Mamady Sidibe flicking over from Robert Huth's header, before the same player forced a good close-range block from Alex.

Neither came as close as Whitehead, though, who latched on to a tame Hilario punch clear to lash goalwards, forcing Jon Obi Mikel into a fine clearance on the line.
However, that was about as close to a goal as Stoke came to a goal, although Ricardo Fuller forced a smart stop from Hilario in injury time with the game all but done and dusted.
In between, Chelsea were in complete control.
Nicolas Anelka should have opened the scoring when he forced an error from Whitehead on the edge of the area only to lash wide of the far post.
But five minutes later, the hosts were ahead. A Florent Malouda corner caused problems in the Stoke defence, Terry laid it back to Lampard and the England midfielder lashed in from 20 yards via a deflection off Abdoulaye Faye.
It could have been 2-0 before the break but Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen got down well to keep out Didier Drogba's volley, while the visitors then had Andy Wilkinson to thank for two fantastic blocks in quick succession, from an Anelka header and then an Alex header.
Chelsea's deserved second was not too long in coming, though, with Terry muscling his way among the Stoke defence to head in Lampard's corner.
Only a string of saves from Sorensen kept the score down thereafter, Lampard denied from range and Salomon Kalou and Anelka both stinging the Stoke keeper's palms from inside the area.
As it was those misses did not prove crucial and Chelsea, clear favourites to win the tournament for a sixth time now, eased their way into the last four for the fourth time in the last five years
Stoke, on the other hand, will turn their attention back to the Premier League as their wait to reach a first FA Cup final goes on.
Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins:
"(The barracking from away supporters) is happening and John's just getting on with the situation.
"I'm not too happy about it, but there's nothing I can do. He's dealing with the situation in the only way he can - committing himself to the cause, and that was another superb performance from him.
"He's an exceptional captain and we're delighted to have him on board. He leads these players on the pitch in fantastic fashion and scored a great second goal."
Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"Our fans are brilliant, different class. John will have to accept he'll take stick. He took stick from England supporters the other night.
"If John does well in the World Cup and wins it, he'll come back a hero.
"As for the game, we've knocked Arsenal and Man City out of the FA Cup and to pull Chelsea out of the hat at Stamford Bridge was a difficult tie.
"The players were first class, though, we gave everything and had a right go."

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