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Rosenborg make point to deny Chelsea

Published: Wednesday 19 September 2007, 0.40CET
Chelsea 1-1 Rosenborg BK The Norwegian minnows earned an impressive draw as Chelsea had to come from a goal down in London.
by Trevor Haylett
from Stamford Bridge

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Published: Wednesday 19 September 2007, 0.40CET

Rosenborg make point to deny Chelsea

Chelsea 1-1 Rosenborg BK The Norwegian minnows earned an impressive draw as Chelsea had to come from a goal down in London.

Chelsea FC made a stuttering start to the campaign as they were forced to come from a goal down to earn a Group B point against Rosenborg BK at Stamford Bridge.

Shock opener
Miika Koppinen had given the visitors a shock lead midway through the first half, applying a decisive foot to Marek Sapara's left-wing free-kick to leave Petr Čech with no chance. One of the UEFA Champions League favourites, Chelsea fought back and equalised through Andriy Shevchenko on 53 minutes but a winner proved elusive.

Cross purposes
The hosts had wasted no time in pushing forward early on and Rosenborg's five-man midfield were soon in retreat. It was clear that the instructions were to get the ball out wide as quickly as possible and test the Norwegian side's resolve with crosses; Joe Cole set an example by cutting in and floating one over, Salomon Kalou heading high and wide. There was nevertheless a warning for the Premier League team as Juliano Belletti slipped and offered Abdou Razack Traoré a sight of goal; although his shot was dragged wide, here were encouraging, if brief, signs that there were spaces for Rosenborg to exploit.

Koppinen surprise
Concerted pressure should have yielded a Chelsea goal. Michael Essien smacked a drive centimetres wide before Florent Malouda's effort from an Shevchenko cross hit the nearest defender. As vigorously as Rosenborg were applying themselves, and even allowing for that earlier opening, there was nothing to suggest that Stamford Bridge was about to be rocked by an away goal; but one duly arrived in the 24th minute from Koppinen.

Opportunities missed
From that point until half-time Chelsea queued up to equalise. Alex nodded wide, Joe Cole missed the target, and Kalou and Shevchenko failed to level by the narrowest of margins. Knut Tørum's men knew the pressure would be back on, however, the minute the second-half whistle blew. Joe Cole duly led the charge but yet again his sights were awry.

Equaliser
When the equaliser finally arrived, though, it followed a let-off at Chelsea's end of the pitch. A patient bout of passing around the Londoners' penalty area had ended with Alexander Tettey lifting his attempt too high. Then Malouda, who does not seem to know how to play a loose cross, drifted another delicious ball in to tempt the goalkeeper off his line; Shevchenko only had to nod it goalwards to score.

Woodwork intervenes
The game had become very open, with Chelsea constantly on the attack. Malouda struck a post and Shevchenko, following up, was denied. Then it appeared that the Ukrainian had to score a second but he could not find the touch. Chelsea rattled the woodwork twice more and came close on numerous occasions. Yet José Mourinho's team will be the first to admit that they are not firing on all cylinders, the injured Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard being sorely missed. For the Norwegian champions there were contrasting emotions. This was a notable result when set in the context of having won only one of their previous 24 group matches.

Last updated: 19/09/07 10.28CET

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