Lampard (41m & 90 (pen))
Tevez (45+1m & 76 (pen)), Bellamy (51m & 87m)
- Matchday centre
- Match reports
- 27 February 2010 15:03
- Posted by Chris Bailey
Stamford Bridge’s previously impregnable walls were left a pile of rubble by the brilliant Blues.
An extraordinary contest saw Chelsea reduced to a shambolic mess by Roberto Mancini’s men who came from behind to re-write the history books.
Such was the disarray of the home side that they finished the game playing with nine men.
It was the Blues first win at Stamford Bridge since 1993, Chelsea’s first home defeat in any competition in 37 attempts and the first time City had completed the double over these opponents since 1957. The statisticians ended the game more exhausted than the players!
This stunning and deserved victory enhanced the Blues bid for fourth place and blew the title race wide open.
For anyone perusing the pre-match publicity for this match it was perhaps a surprise to some that there were eleven players on each side and not just Wayne Bridge and John Terry.
The fair play handshake recommended by the Premier League didn’t extend to the two aforementioned England internationals but thankfully ninety minutes that could have turned into a bout of some kind of ghoulish gladiatorial combat did in the end produce a fascinating tactical contest that blossomed into a wonderful spectacle.
It was a pair of England players other than Bridge and Terry who stepped into the entertainment void first.
After much huff and puff but little in the way of goalmouth action Chelsea’s Joe Cole produced the best ball of the first forty-five minutes and Frank Lampard did it justice squeezing the ball home off the post in the 41st minute.
That lit the fuse for a second half wonder show from the Blues
Terry and Carvalho misjudged a long clearance leaving Carlos Tevez to sniff out half a chance and he took advantage of some poor positioning from the keeper to scuff a shot beyond Hilario for an injury time equaliser. It was a goal that changed the game completely.
Instead of going in deflated, City, on the back of four matches without success and facing an end of season run in that is as difficult to traverse successfully as any in the division, came out with their chests puffed out and a game plan executed to perfection by one Milanese favourite against another.
Italy’s industrial and fashion capital loomed large in both dugouts where one time Inter boss Mancini was head to head with one of his countrymen for the first time since he succeeded Mark Hughes at CoMs.
On the opposite bench was, of course, Carlo Ancelotti who led Inter’s ground-sharers and fiercest rivals AC for many seasons and was a onetime teammate of the City chief. There was only one winner and it wasn’t the home manager.
Both bosses were without key personnel. Emmanuel Adebayor having picked up a four match ban for a flailing arm at Stoke and Petr Cech having suffered an injury on Champions League duty that will see him return around the same time as the Togo talisman.
Mancini shuffled the pack again after the midweek Cup woe. Tevez, back from compassionate leave tending for his prematurely born daughter Katie in Argentina, led the attack ahead of a packed midfield that included five teammates and he gave City an energy and impetus that was irresistible.
But even so, the first half could best be described as one of attrition with the Blues happy to play a game of containment and chances at a premium.
The tempo was slow and deliberate. Given was tested just twice in the opening forty-five minutes once from Joe Cole and once from Vincent Kompany!
The second half exploded into action in the 51st minute when Craig Bellamy raced onto Gareth Barry’s well weighted pass and found the far corner of the net and then Chelsea committed football suicide
Substitute Belletti felled Barry in the box and was sent off. Tevez despatched the penalty with aplomb, eschewing his penchant for the centre of the goal for the corner of the net. It was a dream scenario for the Blues and with Bridge withdrawn from the spotlight, Bellamy then made it 4-1 in the 87th minute from close range after a pass from Wright-Phillips.
By then Chelsea were reduced to nine men. Ballack had been sent off for a second yellow card and though Lampard scored a late consolation from the spot, it was too little, too late for the home side whose afternoon ended in abject misery.