Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Copenhagen 0-2 Chelsea: Anelka Double Puts Ancelotti's Side Firmly In Command


Chelsea secured a comfortable 2-0 victory over Copenhagen giving themselves two vital away goals and a great chance to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Nicolas Anelka scored a double to open up a healthy lead going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge on March 16.

The Frenchman benefited off a loose pass from Jesper Gronkjaer after only 17 minutes for his first goal. Frank Lampard played a delicious ball through to Anelka for his second as Chelsea stamped their authority on the match. Copenhagen who had not played a game in a couple of months looked heavily off the pace.

The Blues went about their work very professionally as Copenhagen were certainly no pushovers.

They have taken the Danish League by storm creating a massive 19 point void over the winter break and if that was not impressive enough – they were unbeaten at the Parken Stadium in the Champions League this season.
Ancelotti selection choice had been vindicated as he opted to leave Didier Drogba on the bench. Torres partnered Anelka upfront and gave the home side numerous problems.

Jose Bosingwa, Michael Essien were restored to the first team line-up after missing out on Saturday FA Cup clash against Everton.

An ambitious effort from Frank Lampard after three minutes spurred on the Premier League side - his confidence certainly boosted after returning to goalscoring form recently with five goals in his last nine games.

It set the tone of the early stages as Copenhagen's Cesar Santin opted for a long range blast at goal which didn't trouble Petr Cech.

Torres and Anelka were linking up well and Malouda offered support as the Blues threatened to blow away the hosts in the first half.

Ancelotti would have been pleased to see his new strike force combining well and on 10 minutes, Torres drifted inside and delivered a lovely through ball towards Anelka who’s first time effort was blocked.

And it was again the Spaniard who looked very lively given his first Champions League start for the Blues - he slid a ball down the wing towards Malouda but his cut back failed to find a blue shirt.

But the Italian boss would not have to wait much longer as Anelka bagged a precious away goal for his side. Gronkjaer gave the ball away needlessly in midfield and the Frenchman graciously took the opportunity with a clinical finish past Johan Wiland in the Copenhagen goal.

Chelsea nearly went 2-0 up a few minutes later on the counter as Malouda surged forward and played in Torres, a couple of stepovers took him past the Copenhagen defence but his shot was saved well.

The visitors were in the ascendancy and Anelka should have extended the visitors' lead further but he tried to pick out Torres at the back post however Wiland prevented the pass from going to the Spaniard and the Danes survived once more.

The half-time whistle went at the Parken Stadium and Chelsea looked very comfortable with the hosts having a couple sporadic chances.

Substitute Martin Vingaard looked determined to get the home side back into the match. His snap shot after a minute of the second half had Cech scampering down towards his near hand post but at least it was a statement of intent by the midfielder.

However any thoughts of a comeback were shortly extinguished as Chelsea doubled their lead on the counter-attack on 54 minutes. Lampard played a delightful through ball towards Anelka and he needed no second invitation to fire it past Wiland in goal.

Torres could have added a third as the Blues threatened to run riot with an hour of the game gone.

Gronkjaer nearly had a chance to redeem himself as he was played through on goal but the linesman adjudged the Dane to be in an offside position although replays showed that the winger was onside.

It was a warning to Chelsea of what the hosts were capable of however Torres yet again had another chance to score as he skipped past the Copenhagen defence but his shot despite getting past Wiland in goal lacked the necessary power to get over the line.

Perhaps a saving grace for the Danish side is that they will be sharper when the two sides meet again in a few weeks time but on tonight's display it seems Chelsea are favourites to progress into the quarter-finals.

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