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Another case of the Blues

Posted on 30 April 2011  - 12:00

Sandro netted his first goal for the Club in spectacular style, but two Chelsea goals, one just before half-time and one moments from the end, clinched a 2-1 victory for home side.

Another case of the Blues

Sandro netted his first goal for the Club in spectacular style, but two Chelsea goals, one just before half-time and one moments from the end, clinched a 2-1 victory for home side.

The Brazilian midfielder was a massive presence throughout the game and his spectacular strike looked like giving us a lead going into half-time - until the closing seconds of the half.

Heurelho Gomes let a Frank Lampard shot slip past him, but recovered and prevented the whole ball crossing the line. Between the referee and his assistant, who was not in line with the ball, it was decided to award a goal.

There was huge pressure from a boosted Chelsea side in the second period, but it looked like a point was on the cards until a late combination between Didier Drogba and the goalscorer Salomon Kalou won it in the 89th minute.

The duel threat of Messrs Torres and Drogba looked a threatening proposition in the opening 13 minutes, but one that a slightly unfamilar back four consisting of Younes Kaboul, William Gallas, Michael Dawson and Vedran Corluka repelled quite effectively.

Corluka returned to the team at left-back and was one of three changes from last week's draw against West Brom. Sandro started for injured Tom Huddlestone while Aaron Lennon replaced Jermain Defoe as we switched from 4-4-2 to 4-4-1-1.

At one point Kaboul was ably assisted by Luka Modric, who showed what he is made of by twice physically competing with Drogba for possession.

In the opening moments, David Luiz showed his cynical side with a chop on a flying Gareth Bale, while Roman Pavlyuchenko left John Terry grounded before shooting wide across the face of goal.

A Drogba free-kick crashed against the crossbar, while Gomes had to be alert to smother an Ashley Cole effort.

On 19 minutes a long Bale throw to Rafael van der Vaart was dinked in the direction of the on-rushing Sandro, who proceeded to arrow an unstoppable shot beyond Petr Cech and into the top corner of the net.

The Brazilian rushed to the dug-out area to celebrate and ended up receiving a few instructions from Harry Redknapp.

Chelsea responded and Gomes made an athletic tip over to divert a Michael Essien header before Torres should perhaps have done better from the resulting corner when he nodded onto the roof of the net from an unmarked position. In fairness to the striker, the ball came at him at considerable pace.

It was a case of quite stylish containment leading up to half-time, the Chelsea tide washing up against Sandro and Modric in the middle, occasionally getting as far as Dawson and Gallas, while there was always the threat of a swift counter given the slick possession being carried out in the centre.

Just before the break though, Lampard tried his luck from distance and the ball squirmed behind Gomes. The goalkeeper clawed the ball back before it appeared to go over the line but eventually a goal was given and it was a cruel blow so near to half-time.

Drogba unleashed a piledriver seven minutes after the re-start as the home side cranked up the pressure. Gomes stood firm despite barracking from the home fans behind him in the second half.

Defoe was introduced in place of Pavlyuchenko on 57 minutes. Five minutes later Drogba hit one from 30 yards that Gomes parried in front of the substitute Kalou, who blazed over.

The Chelsea crowd howled for a penalty when Kaboul challenged Florent Malouda inside the area, but the big defender got a touch to the ball and Gomes was able to grab. Referee Mr Mariner declined the requests for a spot-kick.

John Terry had a chance to clinch victory from a Drogba free-kick on 84 minutes with Gomes saving in the corner, before our final change was made, with Jermaine Jenas taking over from van der Vaart.

The team displayed great heart in standing up to the inevitable onslaught from a team attempting to stay in the title hunt but, with just two minutes left on the clock, Anelka and Drogba combined on the edge of the area to squeeze the ball through to Kalou at the far post to poke into the net.

It was not the end the team deserved.

Chelsea (4-4-2): Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole; Lampard, Essien (Ramires, 58), Mikel, Malouda (Anelka, 73); Drogba, Torres (Kalou, 63). Unused subs: Turnbull, Zhirkov, Alex, Benayoun.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Kaboul, Dawson, Gallas, Corluka (Pienaar, 78); Lennon, Sandro, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart (Jenas, 84); Pavlyuchenko (Defoe, 58). Unused subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Rose, Crouch.

Goals: Spurs - Sandro, 19. Chelsea - Lampard, 45; Kalou, 89.

Attendance: 41, 681.

Referee: Mr A Marriner.