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Chelsea win a classic

It was a game that had everything. In an enthralling encounter Chelsea was the team celebrating a fifth UEFA Champions League semi-final appearance in the last six seasons. But at halftime Liverpool fans had to be dreaming of an improbable comeback as they jumped to a 2-0 lead inside the first 30 minutes.

The 3-1 first-leg deficit was a formidable barrier for the Anfield club to overcome but they set about it with gusto and Fábio Aurélio’s free-kick and Xabi Alonso’s penalty had the scores level. However, Chelsea roared back with second-half goals from Didier Drogba, Alex and Frank Lampard. Lucas, with a deflected shot, and a Dirk Kuyt header left the home supporters fearing the worst but Lampard scored again with a minute remaining to ensure Chelsea a semi-final meeting with FC Barcelona.

With Steven Gerrard ruled out with a groin injury, Liverpool’s task looked even more difficult. While their desire was all too apparent, the early passing lacked sufficient sharpness, even if they created a good chance in the 13th minute that Fernando Torres would normally have put away. It was skilfully created by Kuyt and Yossi Benayoun but having sidestepped Alex’s challenge, Torres was unable to keep his shot down.

Lampard sent a free-kick fizzing wide as Chelsea threatened for the first time. Yet within five minutes their night began to take a turn for the worst as Liverpool were awarded a free-kick out on the right following a push by Lampard on Torres. Aurélio stood over the ball as players on both teams jostled for position. The Brazilian then deceived everyone by arrowing his delivery inside Petr Čech’s left-hand post, leaving the Chelsea goalkeeper embarrassed. This was not the only mistake that Cech, who recent form has to have Chelsea fans worried.

It was game on once more and Branislav Ivanović was forced to intervene when Torres almost freed Benayoun. Liverpool had their tails up and they soon scored again. Another Aurélio free-kick was vigorously contested with the referee spotting a tug by Ivanović on Alonso, who calmly slotted home the spot-kick. Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink was seething on the touchline and in a bid to put new life in his team he replaced Salomon Kalou with Nicolas Anelka. It was a soft penalty, but you cannot wrestle a player to the ground like that.

Liverpool resumed their attack after the restart and Čech was left exposed as he was beaten by Lucas to a through ball to the left of goal. The Argentinian laid the ball off to Aurélio but this time he could not produce a quality delivery. Anelka had shown little so far but a positive raid down the right led to Chelsea regaining the aggregate lead. A dangerous ball played under pressure was helped on by Drogba close to the byline and Pepe Reina was unable to keep it out at his near post.

Six minutes later Liverpool’s lead on the night was wiped out as Alex fired in a free-kick with immense power, and Chelsea seemed to have put the issue beyond doubt in the 76h minute when Drogba surged away and Reina could not do enough to keep out Lampard’s side-footed shot. Eleven minutes from time Lucas’s drive diverted in off Michael Essien and then Kuyt was allowed room to head in Albert Riera’s cross. One more goal and Liverpool would be through but instead that went to Chelsea and the inspirational Lampard, the home side’s joy tempered only by a second-half booking for Ashley Cole, meaning he will be suspended for the first leg at Barcelona on 28 April.

It should be a great semi-final between Chelsea and Barcelona. Chelsea’s defense looks very weak at the moment and they might have to outscore Barcelona if they want to reach the Champions League semi-final for the second straight year.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • I dislike rafa because he is lost it all.

  • inter November 11, 2010, 9:44 am

    I miss Jose Mourinho and his steal defense..

  • cika Jose November 11, 2010, 6:46 am

    1. Castelazzi-reserve goalie,not Inter level
    2. Santon-never played right wb
    3. Lucio-???
    4. Cordoba-not Inter level for 2,3 years
    5. Chivu-central defender who cant play that role due to head injury,too poor as a left back
    6. Zanetti-cant play midfielder
    7. Obi-winger,forced to play central midfielder,one senior game so far
    8. Coutinho-Serie A too heavy for him,needs time
    9. Biabiany-very explosive,nothing more
    10. Pandev-is there any blood in his body?
    11. Eto’o-cant do everything on his own

    Subs-Orlandoni,Materazzi,Nwankwo,Mancini,Stankovic and Milito recently back from injuries.

    So experts,what do you expect from a team like this one? Serie A title? CL final? Dont be ridiculous!!

  • bertellemiyos November 11, 2010, 4:32 am

    It is hard to trust the current coach of inter. Imagine what Mourinho did for inter just a year before and how Benitez strive to destroy it. He is not dependeable coach to work with Inter’s quality playes after all.
    the playes are the same but the result is far behind inter’s achievement. I don’t know what Morati thinks that Benitez has to contribute for inter.

  • Caio Filardi November 10, 2010, 9:37 pm

    And I hope this crap coach go away as fast as possible.
    Injury problems apart, is annoying to see this spanish farce disguised as Inter coach. He can’t make the team play a football at least reasonable. The team hasn’t claw, don’t show desire to win. He isn’t coach for Inter, the problem is that when everyone realizes that could be late, too late.
    Benitez don’t knows nothing about tactics. He has lost the control about the team. The Inter shirt, the Inter history are too heavy for him.
    This is the championship easier in recent years. Our beloved Inter could win it easily. We must prepare ourselves for the worst, because the trend is a great shame for next Sunday. We can’t expect much more with this horrible coach.
    Italian league? Can forget. World Cup Club? Better start praying. Champions League? In one of the most easy groups, Inter will be classified in second place with great difficulty. The title of the CL? A dream too far.
    This is Mr Benitez. The ‘spanish farce’! The lie that our president believed to be true.
    What would be a matter time to celebrate another championship, is changing for a season of humiliation and shame.
    I hope to be completely wrong. Completely wrong.
    Wake up Moratti! You expected what? Losing it all? To the hell with this limited coach.

    • Tomislav November 11, 2010, 4:35 am

      INTERISTA in his comment, above mentioned very well , I will only added this, previous 2 coaches when were going bad, they blamed only themselves and sam etime when some players makes mistakes he was benched! This”coach” blames luck,blames injuries and everyone but not himself, also biabiany plays very bad (he does not benched him), mutu is playing very bad in recent games and still he gives him strange roles(where were the central mid-fielders to cover their central spots in moments of conceding the goal), than how is it possible obi to play as very important central mid-fielder along side with the legend( il capitano) and this obi did not did anything at all …Benitez go and destroy again liverpool or any other team, but leave our INTER to us and to normal (someone who know how to make tactics) coaches….SEMPRE INTER, INTER NEL MIO CUORE………FORZA INTERISTI

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