FC Girondins de Bordeaux kept their UEFA Champions League hopes alive as Alou Diarra's late goal secured a share of the spoils against ten-man Chelsea FC.
In a pulsating contest, Nicolas Anelka opened the scoring for the visitors against the run of play on the hour, yet the Ligue 1 outfit clinched the point they deserved on 83 minutes when stand-in skipper Diarra met Yoann Gourcuff's free-kick with a firm near-post header. AS Roma's win at CFR 1907 Cluj means the Italian side top Group A, one point ahead of Chelsea and two clear of Bordeaux, who travel to the Stadio Olimpico in a fortnight when the Romanian team visit London.
Les Girondins signalled their intentions with Fernando's long-range drive on five minutes, pushed past the post by Petr Čech. The Czech international then raced off his line to intercept Marouane Chamakh's through ball at Yoan Gouffran's feet, yet the hosts' positive start had the home fans roaring their approval. With Gourcuff frequently escaping the attentions of John Mikel Obi, Bordeaux established a firm grip on proceedings.
Bordeaux on top
Wendel failed to make a clean contact with his shot after turning past José Bosingwa, before Matthieu Chalmé surged past Florent Malouda on the opposing flank and saw his stinging drive parried by Čech. Bordeaux's dynamic opening contrasted vividly with their Matchday 1 display when Chelsea ran out 4-0 victors in London, and this time it was the Premier League leaders – beaten 3-1 by Roma in their previous European outing – who appeared to lack confidence.
Although Ashley Cole and Malouda occasionally threatened on the left, Anelka cut a lone figure in attack and Michael Ballack, making his first start for over a month, struggled to make an impact. Gourcuff, on the other hand, was in sublime form, jinking between opponents at will. The French international drew another fine save from Čech after turning nimbly on the edge of the box and arrowing in a left-footed strike. While the Blues slowly came to terms with Bordeaux's vigour, they failed to trouble goalkeeper Matthieu Valverde, and could only look on with relief as Gouffran rifled another effort over before the break.
Gouffran posed more problems early in the second period, tricking his way past John Terry on the right and surging into the box, only for Mikel to clear his pull-back. Les Marine et Blanc were on top but lacked a final product and paid a heavy price as Chelsea offered a lesson in efficiency on the hour. After winning possession high up the pitch, Frank Lampard threaded a perfect pass through for Anelka who waited for Valverde to commit himself before expertly steering in.
Anelka had done his job and was swiftly replaced by Didier Drogba, while Laurent Blanc reacted by sending on Fernando Cavenaghi to partner Chamakh. It was Chelsea, however, who suddenly seemed more menacing, Lampard firing a free-kick over before testing Valverde. Bordeaux refused to give in, though, and were rewarded with Diarra's effort late on. After Lampard had been sent off for a second bookable offence moments later, the home side pressed for a winner but to no avail.