MASTERCLASS FROM INTER MILAN AND MOURINHO SENDS CHELSEA CRASHING OUT
By Football Talk.
Chelsea were sent crashing out of the champions league after Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan produced a masterclass performance at Stamford Bridge to record a 0-1 victory. Samuel Eto’o scored the only goal of the game before Didier Drogba was sent off late on for a stamp on Tiago Motta to compound a disastrous night for Chelsea.
The game was a cagey affair early on with both sides working hard to close down space and deny the opponent any opportunity on goal. The first chance fell to Ballack who fired wide from 20 yards after 11 minutes.
There was a brief scuffle after Malouda was caught by a high boot from Lucio, Didier Drogba squaring up to the giant defender but soon backed down, it seemed he had finally met his match. The Ivorian striker was then denied by Maicon when the full-back blocked Drogba’s goal-bound effort.
Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o missed the best chance of the half when Sneijder’s cross was missed by John Terry but the forward headed over from close range. Then two moments of controversy that could have changed the tie as Chelsea had two strong penalty claims turned down just before half time.
First Ivanovic was hauled down by Motta before an even worse ‘rugby-tackle’ by Samuel on Drogba, but somehow the referee and his assistant missed them both.
A relatively quiet first half ended goal-less as Inter Milan had managed to stifle Chelsea while looking dangerous themselves going forward. Carlo Ancelotti may have felt his team were the better side during the first 45 minutes but the second half belonged to Inter and Jose Mourinho.
The final 45 minutes in this two-legged tie was a true example of ruthless efficiency. Inter were solid at the back and denied Chelsea any real goal scoring opportunities while the Italians created a host of chances to end the contest.
Pandev should have done better as he burst through on goal but his hesitance allowed Zhirkov to get back and make a fine block. Motta then headed over while unmarked at the far post as Milan started to dominate. Chelsea were really struggling to make any in-roads into the Milan defense and Inter finally scored the away goal that all but ended Chelsea’s champions league hopes for another year.
Eto’o ran onto Sneijders superb through ball and fired into the bottom corner of Turnbull’s net to give Inter a priceless lead with only just over 10 minutes remaining.
0-1 Eto’o (79)
Chelsea had nothing to lose now and knew they must score two goals to force extra time. But Inter were resolute and Carlo Ancelotti had run out of ideas. The night got worse for Chelsea as Drogba was sent off for a stamp on Motta born out of frustration more than anything.
Milan then broke through Eto’o who’s shot was well saved by Turnbull but the miss was irrelevant as the game ended with a famous victory for Inter Milan and Jose Mourinho.
Well who saw that coming?! Chelsea were truly out-witted on their own turf by their former manager Jose Mourinho, no doubt about it he got his tactics spot on with a ‘best form of defense is attack attitude’ that stunned Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti. Mourinho set-up with three forwards in Eto’o, Milito and Pandev and took the game to Chelsea, he later explained the decision as a way to stifle Chelsea’s attacking full-backs. A very risky strategy but one that certainly paid off.
It was one of the best away performances i have ever seen in the champions league. Chelsea fans won’t like to hear it, but Inter were the better team, had the best chances and deserved to progress to the quarter finals. Carlo Ancelotti must now win the premier league or his job may be on the line after this defeat. It’s no secret owner Roman Abromovich wants the champions league trophy and the Italian tactician was brought in to realise his dream. This failure at such an early stage in the competition will not sit well with Mr Abromovich.
Wesley Sneijder was a different class pulling the strings in the final third, while Lucio and Walter Samuel were colossal at the heart of the Italians defense. Any team that can keep Didier Drogba quiet must have some pretty handy centre backs! Nobody will want to face Inter Milan in the next round after this display. They found the perfect balance between defense and attack, worked tirelessly to close down Chelsea and to go to Stamford Bridge and not only win but restrict Chelsea to a hand-full of attempts on goal and keep a clean sheet is remarkable.
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