Home » EPL, Latest, League Cup » Match Report: Chelsea 0 Fulham 0 (AET Chelsea win 4-3 on pens)

Chelsea knocked Fulham out of the Carling Cup last night in the most dramatic of circumstances with the final kick of a penalty shoot-out coming back off the cross-bar and landing on the goal-line. Chelsea won 4-3 with new Fulham signing Bryan Ruiz missing the decisive kick to spark wild scenes of celebrations from Andre Villas-Boas and his players.

The contest went to penalties after a goalless 90 minutes and 30 minutes of extra-time with Chelsea having played for more than an hour with 10-men after Alex was sent off. Fulham missed a penalty with Steve Sidwell wasting the best chance in extra-time as he volleyed over with Chelsea pressing throughout.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas had been told by club owner Roman Abramovich that this competition was almost inconsequential. But defeats do not sit easy at Chelsea and he threw on John Terry and Frank Lampard to shore up his side.

Chelsea also lost two key players to injury and extra-time was the not what they wanted – nor Fulham – given the congested fixture list faced by both sides. Still they produced an absorbing tie as they battled to remain in the competition and claim west London bragging rights.

The Chelsea team-sheet was a surprise, and not just because the original version had Carlo Ancelotti named as the club’s manager. But even Roman Abramovich does not act that hastily after a defeat by Manchester United. The error was quickly rectified with Villas-Boas’s name inserted below what was possibly the strongest bench ever listed by the club.

On the pitch, Chelsea started with a quartet of young players but there was a strong injection of experience also and, if anything, Fulham rested more of their established names.

Chelsea included Petr Cech and Daniel Sturridge, who had both started at Old Trafford, with a pair of Brazilian internationals in central defence and Florent Malouda in midfield, and immediately began to dominate.

Sturridge, pushed wide to create space, eked out the first opportunity, his shot striking the side-netting.

Such was Chelsea’s control early on that it was a full eight minutes before Villas-Boas made his way out of the dugout to begin his customary gesticulations from the technical area, although soon after Matthew Briggs set off on an astonishing run that took him into the Chelsea penalty area, where he was finally halted by Oriol Romeu.

Twice Fulham’s new £10.5 million signing Bryan Ruiz, looking far more comfortable than on his debut, provided wonderful opportunities for his strike partner, Orlando Sa.

First he played the Portuguese through with an incisive pass from the outside of his boot, only for Alex to recover and get a vital touch, and then he scooped the ball over the Chelsea defence.

Sa ran on but shot wide wastefully when he should have squared for Pajtim Kasami. Back came Chelsea. Malouda found the side-netting, Lukaku’s flick was blocked and Sturridge had a goal ruled out for offside after a fine run and shot by the impressive Josh McEachran.

Sturridge was injured, under Kelly’s challenge, as he turned the ball into the net and limped off to be replaced by Frank Lampard, no less. Cech also appeared to be injured and was replaced at half-time by Ross Turnbull.

Soon after Kalou should have opened the scoring, with Lampard feeding him, after a powerful break forward, only for another effort to slam into the side-netting.

Immediately Fulham broke, with Ruiz cutting the ball back towards the elusive Kerim Frei, who was brought down by Alex. Penalty and a red card for Alex, which appeared a harsh decision.

The spot-kick was taken quickly, only for Kasami to side-foot his effort against the crossbar.

As Villas-Boas prepared to bring on John Terry, Fulham countered once more, with Sa running into the area before appearing to be pushed over by Romeu. No penalty this time.

Chelsea were reeling and Fulham sensed a famous victory. The changes meant that Didier Drogba, now fully recovered from his concussion, could not, as planned, be introduced, while, with a man down, Chelsea also had a goalkeeper in Turnbull who was not fully fit.

After Moussa Dembele was brought down a Chris Baird shot was deflected back to the substitute whose drive was turned away by Turnbull, who then brilliantly flicked over an effort from Kasami. Turnbull fumbled the corner, but Baird drove wide.

Schwarzer saved from Ryan Bertrand and Lukaku’s header. The young Belgian had a shot blocked and then Schwarzer saved from David Luiz as extra-time loomed.

Match Details
Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech (Turnbull h-t); Ferreira, Alex, Luiz, Bertrand; Romeu; Sturridge (Lampard 44), McEachran (Terry 52), Malouda, Kalou; Lukaku. Subs: Mata, Drogba, Mikel, Bosingwa. Sent off: Alex. Booked: Lampard.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Kelly, Grygera, Senderos, Briggs; Kasami (Zamora 79) Baird, Gecov (Sidwell 90), Frei; Ruiz, Sa (Dembele 59). Subs: Etheridge (g), Riise, Kacaniklic, Halliche. Booked: Frei.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

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