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Guangzhou 0-4 Chelsea


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Guangzhou 0 - 4 Chelsea F.C.

July 23 2008, Pre-season Friendly, Guangdong Olympic Stadium, China

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Franco di Santo netted his first Chelsea goal in a 4-0 destruction of Chinese Superleague side Guangzhou


The Argentinean striker slid in at the far post to tuck away Florent Malouda's excellent cross from the left-hand side, whilst goals from Salomon Kalou, Shaun Wright-Phillips and a sublime chip from Frank Lampard gave Chelsea a convincing win. The Blues dominated throughout, and new manager Luis Felipe Scolari is certain to be pleased with the delightful performance. Some slick, one-touch football was complimented by the tough Chelsea backline, and the fluidity of the midfield was easy on the eye as the Blues carved open their opposition with ease. Despite the positive nature of the result, the Chelsea manager's mind will no doubt be cast to the injury sustained by new signing Jose Bosingwa, as the Portuguese full-back limped off in the opening exchanges.

Scolari elected to field a 4-4-2 formation, utilising the attacking full-backs he used to devastating effect as manager of Brazil and Portugal. Petr Cech began in goal, whilst Ashley Cole, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Bosingwa all started across the backline, though the latter was soon replaced by Paulo Ferreira because of injury. Deco and Frank Lampard began in midfield, with Mikel John Obi and Michael Essien shielding the backline. Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou began up front, due to injuries to Andrei Shevchenko and Didier Drogba.

The opening exchanges were dominated by the Blues as Deco and Lampard looked to stamp their authority on the game. The duo linked well together, feeding the strikers with long and short passes. The new system appeared to be favoured by Nicolas Anelka, who was enjoying more freedom whilst playing alongside a second striker, and allowed the Frenchman to have a greater influence on the game. But for a better finish, he would have had a goal to his name, but the Chelsea number 39 fired straight at the goalkeeper from an acute angle following a neat combination between Kalou and Deco. The Blues were exercising their new-found attacking diversity, and Frank Lampard scooped over with his first effort following a raid down the flank by the impressive Bosingwa, before Essien smashed an effort inches over from all of twenty five yards. The Ghanaian worked himself into some space, and his right-footed drive had the Guangzhou goalkeeper beaten, but the ball flew over the bar.

As the game passed the quarter-hour mark, Bosingwa pulled up with apparent muscle strain. Whilst his attacking forays had been marvellous to witness in the short space he was on the field, the Portuguese full-back retired from the pitch, but his attacking impetus was not required as the Blues took the lead on 19 minutes. Deco and Lampard combined once more, before the England star fed the ball through to a well-timed Kalou run. The Ivorian lashed the ball home in trademark style, beating the despairing dive of the goalkeeper and nestling in the bottom corner of the goal.

Paulo Ferreira was introduced as the replacement for his compatriot, but was rarely troubled as the defensive midfield duo of Essien and Mikel managed to successfully break up any moves by the Chinese side. Cech was tested only sparingly in the opening half an hour; the tall Czech comfortably catching a cross and smothering a low drive, although Xu Liang did volley narrowly over with 32 minutes on the clock. Essien immediately tested Cech's opposite number with a daisy-cutter, but the Blues were unfortunate not to extend their lead soon after. Following an excellent run, Nicolas Anelka's low drive cannoned off the upright and away for a throw-in. The Frenchman cleverly played around the covering defender before lashing goalwards. The Guangzhou goalkeeper was beaten but the woodwork denied what would have been a deserved strike for the French forward, who was looking influential in Chelsea's attacking moves.

Cech excellently kept the Guangzhou side at bay seconds before the interval. Xu Liang, who had already worried the Chelsea custodian with two efforts, whipped the ball to the near post. With the defenders and the goalkeeper apparently expecting a whipped cross, it took superb reactions from Cech to claw the ball against the post, before Ashley Cole prodded away - a narrow escape for the Blues.

The goalkeeper was replaced in the second half by Carlo Cudicini, and captain John Terry made way for Alex at the heart of the defence. Franco di Santo, wearing the number 36 shirt, came on also, whilst Wayne Bridge replaced Ashley Cole at full-back. And it was Bridge who had the best opportunity of the opening minutes of the first half; the Chelsea number 18 thundering a low strike against the base of the post and away. Moments before, Paulo Ferreira was denied strongly by substitute goalkeeper Li Shuai, after the Portuguese full-back powered goalwards, only to see it punched away fiercely by the Chinese stopper.

But neither the goalkeeper, nor the woodwork, would deny the brilliance of Lampard. Playing a simple one-two with Deco, Lampard spotted the goalkeeper off his line and delicately lobbed him with a precise chip from outside the area. It was stunning vision from the midfielder, who showed no signs of distraction over a possible move to Inter Milan. Chelsea made additional changes before the hour mark, as Wright-Phillips replaced the influential Kalou, while Branislav Ivanovic made his first team bow, replacing Deco. Slotting in at right-back, Ferreira moved into the midfield.

Wright-Phillips looked to make an instant impact, but his shot on the turn from twenty yards fizzed wide by a matter of inches, before di Santo lashed against the post when fed through. Yet again, the woodwork denied the Chelsea strikers, but the young Argentinean reaped the rewards of his patience on 82 minutes, when he slid in at the far stick to divert Florent Malouda's cross into the net. The Frenchman was a half-time substitute, and his sublime cross between the goalkeeper and defenders gave di Santo the easiest of finishes.

Cudicini denied Xu De'en later, after the Guangzhou player attempted to lob the Italian. However, the Chelsea goalkeeper stuck up a fist and lofted the ball over the bar. Wright-Phillips concluded the scoring moments before the full-time whistle, converting from a Wayne Bridge cross. The result was a pleasing one for Felipe Scolari in his first match as Chelsea coach, with the team demonstrating their attacking abilities whilst maintaining their defensive discipline. With further action against the Chengdu Blades to come in a matter of days, this game was an excellent work out for the Chelsea boss to assess his options.

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Match Fact : Four players made their senior Chelsea debuts - di Santo, Deco, Bosingwa and Ivanovic.

Chelsea: Cech [6] (Cudicini [6]), Bosingwa [6] (Paulo Ferreira [6]), Terry [6] (Alex [6]), Carvalho [6], Ashley Cole [6] (Bridge [7]), Mikel [8], Essien [7] (Malouda [6]), Lampard [7], Deco [7] (Ivanovic [6]), Kalou [7] (Wright-Phillips [6]), Anelka [6] (di Santo [7])

Attendance: Approx. 30,000

Referee: Zhao Liang

Man of the Match : Mikel John Obi

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Thought Anelka was better than a 6 to be honest. Most effort I think i've seen him give for us. Did well.

Yeah, he was quite lively, in truth. Think I'll change it to a 7, he worked as hard as Kalou.

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