Chelsea vs. Inter Milan, UEFA Champions League, 2nd leg Pre Quarter Finals

Venue – Stamford Bridge, London. Date: March 16th, 2010

Chelsea was going into the game after losing the 1st leg to Inter Milan: 2-1, at home to Inter. A score line of 1-0 in Chelsea’s favour would have been enough for them to get to the quarter finals, as they had one away goal from the 1st leg. However, it looked easy to say, but harder to achieve, as it was a return to Stamford Bridge for Jose Mourinho – ex Chelsea manager, but current Inter manager. Mourinho had been the most successful manger in Chelsea’s history, in his old days; and knows the Chelsea team and players very well to mastermind at least a good fight against Chelsea, even if Milan were to lose.

Two African strikers were spearheading the attack for the two sides – Didier Drogba for Chelsea and Samuel Eto’o for Inter, both players of great calibre and skill. The game started slowly but soon picked up momentum as it promised to. Milan were defending very tightly, and it was clear that there aim was to anyhow stop Chelsea from scoring. Chelsea forwards tried to penetrate into the box, but Milan’s defence was proving to be rock solid. Soon after Chelsea showed some good passing football just outside the Milan’s box, and at the end of it Ballack fired a low shot from outside the box, but it was just a yard on the wrong side of the goal. Inter Milan got a free kick in the 15th minute inside Chelsea’s half. It was Sneijder to take the kick, and he delivered a pin point ball to Milito, but his header just missed the goal. It was a good chance for Milan to shock Chelsea, but it went begging. Soon, it was Eto’o with just the keeper between him and the goal, but he was given offside by the lines man.

Chelsea kept on pushing forward to find a goal, but Milan’s defenders were in the right place at the right time. In the 26th minute Drogba had a clean shot on goal, but it was blocked by Maicon from a sliding tackle at the last moment. The ball came to Lampard from the block, he shot, but it was not to trouble the keeper as it was off target. Chelsea were gaining momentum as the half progressed. In 32nd minute Anelka (Chelsea) had a great chance to pass the ball either to Lampard or Drogba, who were both in a clear goal scoring position, but he miss passed it straight to Milan defender. In the next minute, Wesley Sneijder (Milan) crossed in a great ball to Eto’o, but his header was off target from just in front of the goal. It was the best chance of the game so far. Milan got a free kick in the 38th minute from a promising position outside the box. Sneijder stepped up to take it, but his shot hit straight into the Chelsea wall. The game was moving very fast, and in the 41st minute Malouda (Chelsea) fired a shot on goal, but it was again blocked by a Milan defender. Moments later Drogba made a long air pass to Anelka, inside the penalty area. Great first touch from Anelka to control the ball, but his 2nd touch was very poor and he missed to get a shot on target. Half time. 0-0

Second half began with Chelsea playing very attacking football. Lampard got an early chance, in the 2nd half when he almost got passed the last defender, but was eventually checked by Samuel. In the 52nd minute, Malouda had a good opportunity to get the 1st goal for Chelsea, but his curving shot from the left corner of box was saved by Milan Keeper. Chelsea were throwing more and more players forward in search of the goal as the half went on, and made two changes in the 62nd and 73rd minute, bringing in Joe Cole(attacking midfielder) and Kalou (forward) respectively, but Milan’s defence was top notch, master-minded by Mourinho! Even the changes did not have much effect on the game. In 69th minute, Sneijder put in a great ball in the box for team mate Motta, but he headed the ball just over the goal. Sneijder was playing brilliant football and was the main playmaker for Milan in the midfield.

Chelsea were now desperately looking for the goal as the game entered in the final quarter, and as a result more and more Chelsea players were going forward. Milan took advantage of this, and in 78th minute, Sneijder put in an a precise ball from the midfield to find Eto’o few yards outside the box. There was only one defender with him. But he was helpless as Eto fired a low shot towards the goal. Ball past the keeper and in the net! First goal of the game, and to everyone’s surprise, it was Milan who scored, when they had been mostly defending in the 2nd half. With this goal, Chelsea’s campaign in Champions league looked to finish earlier than previously anticipated. They had to score atleast 2 goals now to get the game to extra time and possibly to penalties after that. But in the 86th minute Drogba was shown his 2ndYellow card of the game, and was sent out for a controversial foul on a Milan defender.

The game finished soon, with score line 1-0 to Milan; and taking them through to the quarter finals of the tournament. Mission accomplished for Inter Milan, and for Jose Mourinho.