Carlings Cup: Blackburn beats Chelsea, 4-3, Penalty Woes Continue
Chelsea's strike duo of Malouda and Kalou might have surprised quite a few Blues supporters. But stranger yet was the backline that consisted of Beletti, the central pairing of Ivanovic and Ferreira, Zhirkov in the left and Hilario replacing Cech as goalkeeper.
Chelsea's defensive spine looked unsteady and Blackburn were quick to capitalize. A beautiful pass by Pascal Chimbonda found Kalinic who fired it home to give Blackburn a one-nothing lead. Blackburn continued to assert their supremacy although the second goal was still elusive.
Chelsea's dominant midfield struggled to create much with Ballack, Deco, Cole and Mikel looking uncomfortable. Chelsea's offense seemed to be non existent with very few shots being taken. Ballack had a few wayward shots on goal but there was nothing that could get the Chelsea fans excited. The first half ended with Blackburn looking far superior to Chelsea.
At halftime, Chelsea had made tactical changes with Didier Drogba returning to the line up. Kakuta and Bruma also found playing time. The trio replaced Deco, Beletti and Cole.
The changes paid dividend as Drogba netted the first Chelsea goal. A slick cross from Malouda was headed into the goal by Didier Drogba. Chelsea started to resemble the team that was at the top of the premiership table and a slick pass from Zirkhov found an unmarked Kalou who slot the ball to give Chelsea the lead.
Chelsea seemed dangerous every time they went forward but it was their suspect backline that let them down again and perhaps made the match more entertaining. Kalinic, the goal hero, pounced on a deflected ball and careened it past the keeper. The goal, however, was awarded to Emerton. A handball by Chimbonda gave Drogba a chance to give Chelsea the lead but a fine save by Robinson kept the score line intact.
Chelsea were at a momentary disadvantage when Samba's challenge on Kalou left the Chelsea striker injured with twenty minutes of football still left. Chelsea, left with ten men on the pitch, faced a series of Blackburn attacks that they managed to keep out. Blackburn could have got the lead but Kalinic had shot too wide.
McCarthy's last minute goal made for a great end to regular time, but since it was offside the match was headed into extra-time. Ten men Chelsea had successfully held on till the end and Blackburn played the whole ninety plus minutes in spectacular fashion against a team that was fancied to put them off within regular time.
Overtime was as exciting as regular time. Blackburn went ahead thanks to a (debatable?) call, as the referee awarded a penalty to Blackburn for Zhirkovs challenge on Hoilett. With Chelsea running out of options and time it seemed that the match was won. However at the 32 minute (extra time in extra time! Whoa!) Paulo Ferreira met a cross from Malouda and fired it past Robinson to equalize for Chelsea.
Extra time progressed to penalties and anyone who has been following Chelsea knows their miserable record in penalties. This time it was no different. Chelsea lost the penalties as Ballack and Kakuta's shots on goal were collected by the able Robinson to win the game for Blackburn.
The final score read Blackburn 3-3 Chelsea at full time; Blackburn qualified by winning the penalties 4-3.
Blackburn progress to the next round of the Carlings Cup to face Aston Villa.
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