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Chelsea 3 - 0 Olympiakos


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Chelsea F.C. 3 - 0 Olympiakos

February 19 2008, UEFA Champions League Round of 16, First Leg, Karaiskákis Stadium, Athens
March 4 2008, UEFA Champions League Round of 16, Second Leg, Stamford Bridge, West London

***Click on image to enlarge***

An early salvo from Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard ensured Chelsea progressed into the Quarter Finals of the UEFA Champions League.

With an aggregate score of 0-0 after a dull game in Athens, Ballack opened the scoring in the return leg with a fine header before England midfielder Frank Lampard added a second from close range. Salomon Kalou wrapped up an impressive win for the Blues, who along with Arsenal and Manchester United, progress to the next round of the tournament.

The first leg was an intriguing affair though both teams seemed content to play out a goalless draw. Chelsea had the better of the game with Florent Malouda testing Nikopolidis from range and Ricardo Carvalho going close with a close-range header, though the Greek side had their own chances - Djordjevic testing Cech with an excellent free kick. The complexion of the second leg may have been completely turned upside-down had Salomon Kalou connected with a punt upfield, but the young Ivorian's touch let him down.

For the return game, Avram Grant had no fresh injury worries although Petr Cech was unfit to play due to injury which would also rule him out of crunch FA Cup and Premier League fixtures against Barnsley and Derby County. His replacement was Carlo Cudicini whilst Nicolas Anelka was dropped in favour of Didier Drogba in an otherwise unchanged line-up to the team that crushed West Ham 4-0 at Upton Park despite having Frank Lampard dismissed.

Chelsea came out with masses of confidence and could have taken a two-minute lead had a combination of the post and the assistant referee's flag not deemed Joe Cole offside as he shot inside the box. Much like Nicolas Anelka's early effort against West Ham that was ruled out, it was a tight decision but replays indicated that the linesman was correct with his decision.

But the home team were not rueing missed chances for long as German international Michael Ballack powered home a bullet header from six yards. Winning a throw in down the left, Ashley Cole passed to Lampard who in turn lofted a delightful ball to the near post where Ballack was left unopposed to power the ball home. A trademark finish from the German and a trademark 'Jah!' celebration to boot, the German proving he has the capabilities to perform in midfield along with the Chelsea vice-captain.

Ballack forced a fine save out of Nikopolidis on twenty-five minutes, with the rebound falling to the unmarked Lampard who netted his 103rd goal in a Chelsea jersey. A simple finish by Chelsea's top-scorer; with four goals in his last five matches. Chelsea were dominant and Olympiakos were offering little in return to their hosts, and could have scored a third late on in the half through Makelele - the Frenchman uncharacteristically shooting from range. The effort was on target but directed straight at the goalkeeper.

Makelele could have scored his first goal since November 2006 had his finish been more clinical, turning brilliantly on the edge of the area before testing Nikopolidis, but not before Kalou had put the game beyond the Athenians with a poacher's finish. A Frank Lampard corner bounced awkwardly in the penalty area before the striking instinct of the young Ivorian saw him in the right place at the right time to net his first Champions League goal for the club.

Lampard should have scored moments afterwards but dragged his shot wide from an increasingly difficult angle after being thread through behind the Olympiakos defence. Joe Cole went close as the second half progressed but it was not until the last eight minutes that the Greeks began to show any of the class which earned them a 3-1 away win at Werder Bremen.

Substitute Fernando Belluschi powered a beautiful effort onto the crossbar with Cudicini beaten and the same player saw a free kick well palmed away by Cudicini. The Italian goalkeeper reacted brilliantly to save a headed effort from Paraskevas Antzas as Chelsea progressed to the last eight in style, with the prospect of four British teams in the semi-finals should Liverpool dispose of Internazionale.


Match Fact : Chelsea are 60 games unbeaten at home in all competitions.

Chelsea: Cudicini (6), Ferreira (6), Carvalho (6), Terry (6), Ashley Cole (7), Ballack (9), Makelele (8), Lampard (7) (Essien (6)), Kalou (6) (Malouda (6)), Drogba (5), Joe Cole (7) (Wright-Phillips (6)).

Booked: Lampard, Ferreira, Terry.

Goals: Ballack 6, Lampard 25, Kalou 48.

Olympiakos: Nikopolidis, Zewlakow, Julio Cesar, Antzas, Pantos, Ledesma (Belluschi 53), Patsatzoglou, Torosidis (Sisic 75), Djordjevic (Leonardo 57), Stoltidis, Kovacevic.

Booked: Pantos.

Attendance: 37,721

Referee: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain).

Man of the Match : Michael Ballack


Edited by BlueLion
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