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Schalke 0 - 0 Chelsea


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Schalke 04 0 - 0 Chelsea

Auf_Schalke2.jpg6 November, UEFA Champions League, Veltins ArenaRicardo Carvalho was in formidable mood as his defensive master class ensured a below-par Chelsea backline remained intact, after a 0-0 draw in Gelsenkirchen._44222639_petr203.jpgThe performance was a shaky one from Chelsea, who were fortunate to leave Germany with a share of the spoils after a tense but highly eventful draw with Schalke. Struggling domestically and loosing 2-0 at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago, a European match against Chelsea was the last the German team wanted.However, this was to be far from the truth, as the Schalke side were desperately unlucky not to win the match, after both Rafinha and later Petr Lovenkrands hit the woodwork with two classy attempts. Chelsea went close on a small number of occasions, but it was Didier Drogba who was presented the majority of the clear-cut opportunities for the London side, looking to continue both their excellent undefeated streak of eight games and their attacking brilliance by scoring past the Schalke side.With Rosenborg beating Valencia 2-0 at the Mestalla, a win would have seen Chelsea into the final sixteen with two games to play. An away trip to Rosenborg at the end of the month awaits the team who remain unbeaten in the competition thus far this season, before the home clash against Valencia in December.But two carelessly-conceded freekicks from a Chelsea point-of-view lead to good chances for captain Bordon and set-piece specialist Rakitic, before Didier Drogba's low effort lead to an excellent save from German goalkeeper Manu Neuer in goal for Schalke. It was the best possible start for the young German, who had been left red-faced by Florent Malouda's early opener thirteen days previous.Heiko Westermann, forced to play in midfield due to injury to the home team was enjoying his attacking forays down the Chelsea right, and with Juliano Belletti off-colour, it was no wonder he produced one of the best opportunities of the match for the hosts.Racing past the Brazilian with 19 minutes on the clock, Westermann forced a strong save from Petr Cech. A powerful effort from long range bounced in front of the Czech international, but the big goalkeeper got two fists behind the ball to punch away. The resulting corner lead to another glorious opportunity, but Cech would argue to have had Larsen's effort covered as it hit the side netting._44222506_malouda_getty.jpgHe tested Cech once more four minutes later, again ghosting past Belletti. Cech did well to block, getting everything behind the attempt. Bordon had an excellent chance to open the scoring moments later when he fiercely headed over from seven yards with the Chelsea 'keeper stranded. Cech was replaced by Carlo Cudicini during half-time after injuring his thigh when he attempted to gather the ball from a Schalke corner. The Czech was fortunate when Belletti stabbed the ball away after Cech had flapped at the ball.Chelsea could have taken the lead, albeit undeservedly, before half-time, but Drogba's shot was tame and did not trouble Neuer who eventually gathered. Strong play down the right from Joe Cole had lead to a great opportunity for the Ivorian, looking to continue his rich vein of domestic form, but fired straight at the German between the posts.The second half saw more desperate defending by Chelsea as the home side looked to take advantage of the West London team's poor defensive display, but Carvalho and Alex stood in the way of the German side, missing talismanic front man Kevin Kuranyi. Cudicini was also in fine form, making several excellent catches under pressure and an instinctive reaction save from a wonderful opportunist's effort by Ozil.But by the hour mark, Schalke legs began to go as the Chelsea midfield began to weather the storm by introducing John Obi Mikel to add some influence to the middle of the park. The Nigerian's introduction was immediately influential as his presence added some calm into the Chelsea team who began to pass with more confidence.But despite their growing form on the ball, Schalke were still looking deadly on the break as ex-Rangers man Peter Lovenkrands was taking on make-shift right-back Michael Essien, who took up defensive duties from Belletti after the Brazilian was substituted for Mikel.They could have lost when Rafinha's delicate chip hit the bar, with the most eagle-eyed of spectators noticing Carlo Cudicini got the faintest of touches to the ball. Lovenkrands almost made his presence felt when he finally broke down the Chelsea defence, only for his strike to hit the post.Schalke were desperately unlucky, but this point is a welcome one for Chelsea who were clearly second-best all night._44222676_lampard203.jpgSchalke 04: Neuer, Rafinha, Bordon, Krstajic, Westermann, Jones, Bajramovic, Asamoah, Rakitic, Ozil (Lovenkrands 60), Larsen. Subs not used: Schober, Grossmuller, Howedes, Azaouagh. Booked: Rakitic. Chelsea: Cech, 6 Belletti, 5, Alex, 6, Carvalho, 9, Bridge, 6, Lampard, 6, Makelele, 6, Essien, 7, Malouda, 5, Joe Cole, 6, Drogba, 5Subs Used: Cudicini, 6, Wright-Phillips, 6, Mikel, 7Subs Not Used: Shevchenko, Pizarro, Kalou, Ben-Haim. Booked: EssienAttendance: 53,951 Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland). Star Manfootball1.jpg6. Carvalho

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