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Chelsea 2-0 Fenerbahce


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Chelsea F.C. 2 - 0 Fenerbahce
Chelsea 3 - 2 Fenerbahce

April 2 2008, UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final First Leg, Şükrü Saracoğlu, Istanbul
April 8 2008, UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final Second Leg, Stamford Bridge, West London


Goals from Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard ensured Chelsea progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The aggregate win over the Turkish club has set up an all-English semi-final between the Blues and Liverpool - the third time in four seasons such a fixture has been established, and Avram Grant's side will be hopeful that it will be third time lucky as the two Premier League giants clash for a place in the Champions League final in Moscow.

Despite a dominating performance in Istanbul, Chelsea were unable to hold on to a 1-0 lead presented to them when Florent Malouda's low cross was driven into the home side's net by Deivid, as Fenerbahce launched a stunning comeback to take a 2-1 aggregate lead to Stamford Bridge. Colin Kazim-Richards, formerly of Sheffield United, equalised for the Turkish club before Deivid made amends by beating Carlo Cudicini from fully 30 yards with a rasping drive into the top corner.

There was confident talk from Avram Grant despite the fact Chelsea had lost for the first time in European competition this season, with the Chelsea head coach claiming that the Blues had an excellent chance to progress thanks to their home form. Grant elected to field a strong, attack-minded formation against the Turks, with Ashley Cole and Michael Essien preferred in the full-back positions. Ricardo Carvalho returned to the defence after missing out on the 2-0 away win at Manchester City, whilst Didier Drogba and Joe Cole replaced Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips respectively.

Chelsea were dominant in the opening exchanges and were ahead after just four minutes - their fourth goal in as many games inside six minutes of a match. Michael Essien prowled down the right flank and was hacked down for a Chelsea free-kick. Whipped in by Joe Cole, his cross was met by Michael Ballack who steered the ball beyond Volkan with a brilliant header into the corner of the goal. It was the start Avram Grant needed.

The home side could have doubled their lead on ten minutes, with Joe Cole flicking Kalou's cross onto the near post. The Ivorian winger had beaten his marker and his teasing low cross was met by the outside of Cole's boot, but the England winger was unable to prod the ball over the line.

Carlo Cudicini was forced off with a hamstring injury on twenty minutes. The goalkeeper looked uncomfortable when he took a goal kick early in the game, which forced him to take his long-balls left-footed from that point onwards. However this only seemed to aggravate the injury and was forced to retire, being replaced in between the sticks by Henrique Hilario.

The visitors seemed buoyed by the fact that Chelsea were being forced to play a goalkeeper who had not featured for three months, and the Portuguese did nothing to unnerve the Turkish side with a number of poor clearances. His indecisiveness almost cost the Blues, but centre-half Lugano wastefully headed wide with the goal at his mercy after Alex had beaten the Chelsea offside trap with a clever pass.

The second half saw much of the same from Chelsea, with Grant's side being wasteful in possession, though Didier Drogba did force a smart save out of Volkan. The Ivorian forward brilliantly swivelled inside the area and launched an explosive volley into the midriff of Volkan, who clutched onto the ball with both hands. Drogba tried an effort from range moments later, but it was comfortably gathered by the Fenerbahce goalkeeper.

Drogba was once again denied by Volkan on 70 minutes when the Ivorian's free kick was powerfully fisted away. The ball was not hit at pace but forced a good save from Volkan as it travelled through the Fenerbahce wall and towards the goal. Substitute Juliano Belletti was making good ground down the right flank for Chelsea but the Blues were failing to create many chances as they switched to a more robust 4-4-2 formation.

Hilario was seriously tested when Fenerbahce midfielder Ugur flicked the ball goalwards but the Portuguese shotstopper spread himself well and denied Fenerbahce an away goal, before Kazim-Richards forced a good save out of the Chelsea number 40 from distance. It was to be the last meaningful chance for the Turkish side who had failed to capitalise on a less-than-convincing display by a Chelsea side still chasing multiple honours.

Florent Malouda was introduced soon after and his attacking presence put pressure on the Fenerbahce full-backs who had not been troubled since Salomon Kalou had left the field. The Frenchman's runs allowed space for Michael Ballack and Lampard to join the Chelsea attacks, and a strong run from Michael Essien gave the midfielders chance to get forward with a brilliant run beyond the full-backs, before crossing for Lampard to kill the tie and break Fenerbahce hearts on 87 minutes with a tap-in from 6 yards.

Belletti and Malouda went close with long-range efforts moments later but Chelsea survived a late flurry by the away side to clinch a semi-final clash with Liverpool.

Match Fact : Chelsea have conceded one goal in five games at home in this season's Champions League.

Chelsea: Cudicini (6) (Hilario (6)), Essien (6), Carvalho (6), Terry (6), Ashley Cole (6), Ballack (8), Makelele (5), Lampard (6), Joe Cole (7) (Malouda (7)), Drogba (6), Kalou (7) (Belletti (6)).

Fenerbahce: Demirel, Gonul, Lugano, Edu Dracena, Wederson (Bilgin 89), Maldonado (Kezman 60), Aurelio, Kazim-Richards, Deivid, Alex, Senturk (Boral 75).

Attendance: 38,369.

Referee: Herbert Fandel

Man of the Match : Michael Ballack


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