0-1 (Dunne o.g. 6), 0-2 (Kalou 53)
- Match reports
- 05 April 2008 00:00
- Posted by Leon Collins
Summary: Goals early in each half were the difference, but City's fisrt half display after Dunne's own-goal merited an equaliser. Kalou's goal on 53 minutes killed the game off, and Nedum Onuoha went off just after with a nasty looking shoulder injury.
Pre match news
Sven-Goran Eriksson rang the changes after the disappointment at St Andrews, with Jihai, Garrido, Hamann and Vassell making way for Corluka, Ball, Johnson and Petrov.
Avram Grant fielded a strong starting eleven, with Nicolas Anelka returning to CoMS for the second time this season. Shaun Wright-Phillips started a game at CoMS for the first time since leaving City in July 2005, and the home fans gave him a generous reception when his name was read out ahead of kick off.
Chelsea had the best of the opening exchanges and then on six minutes they opened the scoring. Nicolas Anelka crossed from the right and a retreating Richard Dunne, in trying to block, directed the ball past a wrong-footed Joe Hart for just about the worst start imaginable.
Anelka was in the thick of it five minutes later, ghosting into the box and being denied by a superb challenge from Nedum Onuoha. Benjani broke downfield just afterwards but from a great position his pass towards Elano was easily cut out by Terry.
A minute later Michael Johnson had a great chance, Elano’s cross from the right being nodded back to him by Petrov, but the young midfielder got underneath it and the ball flew a long way over.
Martin Petrov let fly from distance in a central position on 16 minutes, a decent effort but one that Cudicini had covered as went past his left post. The Bulgarian set up Benjani with a clever chip a minute later, but the striker’s header went safely over the bar.
Fernandes was on target on 20 minutes as City looked increasingly confident, but his left-footed effort went straight at Chelsea’s keeper.
As the game really opened up, Anelka raced into the box halfway through the half, but was once again denied a chance thanks another great tackle by Onuoha.
Then on the half hour City went close twice in quick succession. Stephen Ireland’s toe poke was directed over by Belletti, and seconds later Petrov’s vicious shot was superbly tipped over Cudicini.
We had another great chance a minute later, Johnson’s stabbed effort being cleared off the line by Cole after the ball had looped up off Belletti and looked to be going in.
A pair of free kicks came to nothing, Petrov & Elano getting in a mix up at the first, Petrov whipping the second a yard wide of the left post.
The second half opended quietly – until Chelsea doubled the lead on 53 minutes. Salomon Kalou took advantage of a fortunate deflection that fell nicely for him, and he tapped it into the empty net after the ball had squirted sideways as Hart & Onuoha tried to block him.
Hart kept it at 0-2 a minute later, tipping Anelka’s header onto the bar and then flicking the ball away just before it crossed the line from the rebound. But worringly for City Nedum Onuoha had gone to the ground in the build-up clutching his shoulder, and after a break of nearly five minutes he was stretchered off.
The goal and the injury took the wind from City’s sails, Chelsea dominating until Petrov’s free kick went over the bar on 72 minutes.
Caicedo, on for Ireland, could not latch onto a possibleone-on-one chance with four minutes left, and seconds later Anelka had drilled a shot from just outside the area straight at Hart.
Onuoha's injury meant that five minutes were added on, and Petrov skied a shot from the edge of the box just after the fourth official's board had gone up. He chanced his arm again at he very end but the ball went straight at Cudicini, the last chance of the game.
mcfc.co.uk man of the match: Martin Petrov - posed the most threat all afternoon for City and his shot in the first half, saved by Cudicini, deserved better.