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Chelsea wins Portsmouth with a late goal

Goal.com
Mar 04, 2009 at 10:49pm IST

It was a wet and wild affair at Fratton Park as a late Didier Drogba strike gave the visiting side three vital points. Portsmouth 0-1 Chelsea.

First Half

It was Chelsea that begun with more gusto on the windy plains of New Hampshire as Portsmouth looked nervous as the game commenced. A series of loose passes all over the pitch from the home side was an instant worry for the Fratton Park faithful, who were despairing over the poor start to the game.

SUPER GAME: It was a wet and wild affair at Fratton Park as a late Didier Drogba strike gave the visiting side three vital points.

Didier Drogba paired up with Ashley Cole to cause the first real scare for Pompey. Cole's pass skidded across the face of goal, almost finding the boot of the big Ivorian who was inches away from tapping the ball into an open net.

As the half unfolded, the weather conditions were begging to tell on the home side. David James spilled a cross from Florent Malouda that would normally be no problem for him, luckily, his defensive line was there to clean up the mess.

The first quarter was very much in Chelsea's favour, the visitors pressuring the ball hard when Pompey had possession. Portsmouth didn't look comfortable in the game at all, making an assortment of poor errors.

Pompey perked up as the half hour mark approached after a half-hearted penalty claim was waved off by the referee. This seemed to inspire the home side to hold on and play for a positive result.

Chances at both sides of the pitch saw Sean Davis test Petr Cech from distance, the Czech international 'keeper produced a phenomenal save to keep the strike out of his net. Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch Chelsea were enjoying their own catalogue of chances, Brazilian centre back Alex produced a notable attempt that made James earn his salt between the sticks.

An embarrassing strike from Jose Bosingwa took the game into the dying stages of the half, the shot being sliced so badly that the ball went out for a throw. A little comic relief for an otherwise hectic half.

Second Half

The cosy confines of Fratton Park provided a great reception for the start of the second half, as Chelsea proved the more eager of the two teams to re-apply the pressure.

Bosingwa bravely kept his chin up after his mishap late in the first half, continuing to press forward and aid Chelsea's attack. The Portuguese right back got commendation for the effort, but his final touch was proving something of a hindrance for the visitors.

Guus Hiddink opted to spice things up for the Blues, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou making way as Ricardo Quaresma and Juliano Belletti entered the fray.

Quaresma was quick to impose himself on the match as the speedy winger took full control of his right flank, producing some wonderful deliveries and proving that he is no slouch.

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As play looked to be suffering a major slump with the likes of Frank Lampard sending a free kick straight into the Pompey wall, and at the other end, Peter Crouch really struggling to find any quality in his game, the bomb went off.

Seventy-nine minutes in, Didier Drogba broke the deadlock. Quaresma made full use of the channel he was so clearly dominating, to send in a cross for the dangerous striker. Drogba had no problems rising to the occasion and finished without a problem past David James. 1-0 to the visitors.

A late surge from Pompey was not enough to earn them an equaliser as the game fizzled out. The quality in Hiddink's squad really shone through as the game was brought to a close, and consequently provided Paul Hart with his first loss as Portsmouth gaffer.

Goals:

1-0 Drogba (79")

Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Pennant, Mullins, Davis, Kranjcar, Crouch, Nugent.

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Mikel, Ballack, Lampard, Kalou, Drogba, Malouda.

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