Chelsea 0 Blackburn Rovers 0

Last updated : 15 September 2007 By Paul Lagan
Blackburn Rovers frustrated Chelsea with a gritty and disciplined defensive display as they came away from Stamford Bridge with a well-earned point.

A disallowed goal added to Chelsea's sense of injustice but undefeated Rovers were undeterred and stuck to their rigid game-plan.

The opening exchanges were fast and furious with little quality football on display.

However, Chelsea created the first opening in the 22nd minute when a misplaced header from Andriy Shevchenko sailed high and wide of the Blackburn goal after good set-up play on the right by Juilano Belletti.

Belletti then foraged down the right wing four minutes later and fired in a low drive, but Brad Friedel was quick to snuff out the danger.

Seconds later Friedel rose acrobatically to tip Michael Essien's 20-yard pile-driver over the bar with his left hand to deny Chelsea an almost certain goal.

Friedel was called into action again on 30 minutes, this time to smother a left-foot strike by Shevchenko from eight yards out.

Shaun Wright-Phillips decided to shoot from long-range two minutes later, but the on-form England wideman was wayward with his drive.

With Chelsea dominant, Joe Cole, on 34 minutes, arrowed in a curling right-footer from just outside the Blackburn area, but once again Friedel was equal to the task.

It took Blackburn until four minutes from the end of the half to have their first attack on goal when David Bentley, wide on the right, sent over a deep cross and Morten Gamst Pedersen volleyed the ball into Petr Cech's side-netting.

A blistering left-footed drive by David Dunn on 53 minutes enlivened a slow start to the second half.

Jose Mourinho had seen enough by then and replaced Wright-Phillips with Florent Malouda and Steve Sidwell with John Obi Mikel on 56 minutes.

Chelsea thought they had scored immediately through Salomon Kalou but the linesman adjudged him to be offside from Belletti's low cross.

Mourinho jumped off his bench having seen a replay of the incident that suggested Kalou was behind the ball and remonstrated with the official only to be told to sit down by referee Howard Webb.

Frustration got the better of Chelsea and two yellow cards for silly fouls in quick succession saw Joe Cole and Belletti go into Webb's book.

Blackburn took advantage of the lack of concentration and on 78 minutes Cech was forced into a fine save from Robbie Savage's left-foot volley.

Kalou dragged a right-footer wide on 79 minutes to add to Chelsea's woes.

With five minutes remaining Friedel produced another match-saving effort to deny Shevchenko's point-blank header from Malouda's deep cross.
Christopher Samba was rushed unconscious to hospital following a collision with Shevchenko during the incident.
Blackburn held on during the nine minutes of stoppage time to deny Chelsea a return to top spot in the Premier League.