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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Champions League, Chelsea 1-1 Valencia

Drogba gives Chelsea Hope!
Didier Drogba kept Chelsea's Champions League challenge alive with a second half equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw against Valencia on Wednesday. Drogba came to Chelsea's rescue after David Silva's stunning strike had put Valencia in control of a hard-fought quarter-final first leg clash at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea opened brightly enough but left-back Ashley Cole rushed a cross which eluded both Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou as it flashed across the six-yard box. In the ninth minute, Kalou hit the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area after Roberto Ayala had blocked Andriy Shevchenko's path to goal with a crude challenge.

Ayala's block went unpunished by Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere despite Chelsea's appeals for a penalty. Two minutes later Villa squandered a chance when he failed to hit the target from close range after escaping the shackles of the Chelsea defence.

Valencia missed another good chance to take the lead in the 21st minute when Joaquin's shot found David Silva unmarked in the penalty area. Silva only had to touch the ball goalwards to beat Cech but mistimed his kick completely and the Blues escaped again!

Silva made up for his misfire right on the half hour mark though with a simply awe-inspiring goal. Silva picked the ball up ten yards inside the Chelsea half, sprinted forward on the left side and let rip with what can only be described as the sweetest of shots from 35 yards.

The ball took a diagonal trajectory and arrowed into the top right corner, leaving Cech no chance and silencing all within Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea started the second half in a much more positive fashion and Kalou was unlucky when he mistimed a shot from a cross by Lassana Diarra. There was far more urgency about Chelsea's play now and for the first time in the game they looked capable of unsettling their opponents.
Lampard wasted a free-kick after Drogba had been brought down by Ayala - hitting the ball straight at Valencia's defensive wall.But Chelsea's higher tempo football paid off in the 53rd minute when Drogba equalised.

The 53rd minute a hopeful ball over the top from Ashley Cole was latched onto by Drogba. The Ivorian used the bounce to his advantage to catch the ball on the hop and loop a header over Santiago Canizares in the Valencia goal.

Carvalho had a shot blocked in the 84th minute before Shevchenko's over-head kicked flashed wide, but Chelsea had run out of ideas.

Chelsea: Cech, Diarra, Terry, Carvalho, Ashley Cole, Kalou (Wright-Phillips 74), Ballack, Lampard, Mikel (Joe Cole 74), Shevchenko, Drogba.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Makelele, Boulahrouz, Bridge, Ferreira.

Booked: Drogba, Diarra.

Goals: Drogba 53.

Valencia: Canizares, Miguel, Ayala, Moretti, Del Horno, Vicente (Angulo 57), Albelda, Albiol, Joaquin (Hugo Viana 86), Silva, Villa (Jorge Lopez 90).
Subs Not Used: Butelle, Curro Torres, Nacho Insa, Pallardo. Booked: Silva, Albelda, Ayala.

Goals: Silva 30.

Champions league, Chelsea 1-1 Valencia highlights: