Another clean sheet and 4-0 victory!

Daniel Sturridge was amongst the goalscorers as Chelsea beat Kitchee in the semi-final of the Barclays Asia Trophy at the Hong Kong stadium.

Early proceedings were slow yet controlled by Chelsea, and in the first 10 minutes there were only two instances to note, Yuri Zhirkov volleying wide and Slobodan Rajković making a hash of a clearance. For the first half, Chelsea mainly focussed on keeping possession rather than surging forward everytime they got the ball. 16 minutes into the game, and a brilliant Didier Drogba cross was met by Salomon Kalou, who headed into the ground before the ball bounced up onto the bar, followed by Yossi Benayoun attempting a bicycle kick into his own face. Once Kitchee’s first substitution was made, the tempo did slow down, though Chelsea remained the dominant side.

Kitchee’s tactics of defending in numbers kept the score at 0-0. Kalou almost lobbed the ‘keeper Wang Zhenpang with a cross/shot in the 34th minute. Though in the 36th minute, Benayoun was brought down inside the box, with Lampard slotting the resulting penalty down the middle to make it 1-0.

Almost immediately after Chelsea could’ve doubled their lead but Drogba headed across goal instead of at it and Kitchee were let off the hook. Drogba caused more trouble for the opponents on 43 minutes with a free-kick that forced Zhenpang into making an awkward diving save. Turnbull had very little to do in the first half, and when he did, he was almost caught out with a lobbed shot that ended up going over the bar.

To finish off the half, controversy, as Florent Malouda, as played through from a through ball from John Terry had a shot saved off the line by a defender with his arm, which would’ve resulted in another penalty and a sending off this time for sure.

With only one Kitchee sub at half-time, Chelsea players had more time to impress new boss Andre Villas-Boas. Zhirkov may have been a bit too keen though, as his wanting to impress landed his name in the book by referee Phil Dowd. After Kalou was fouled by Dani Cancela on the edge of the box after 48 minutes, Drogba fired onto the top of the net. A minute later, a Malouda cross was bundled into his own net by defender Ubay Luzardo.

After the second goal, Kitchee tried to press a bit more, but as soon as Chelsea got the ball back each time, normal service resumed. The only time they ventured upfield was around the 52nd minute, but the ball was ran out of play for a throw in. Malouda got another assist on 60 minutes, when his cross was met by a brave diving header by Didier Drogba, who was immediately substituted as Chelsea made six changes in two minutes. One of the biggest cheers of the night came when record signing Fernando Torres came on. As John Terry came off, the captain’s armband was given to Ashley Cole. The first substitute to make an impression was John Obi Mikel with a header from a Benayoun cross that went wide.

The next man to try and make a mark on the game was Daniel Sturridge, his first effort going well wide. However, after a free-kick that went over the bar, on the 77th minute, following lovely footwork he beat the ‘keeper at his near post and got the fourth and final goal. Benayoun, like has all pre-season, won man of the match for his efforts.

Late in the game, even though 4-0 up, players were still looking to impress and put pressure on their opponents. Torres, in the 87th minute had a go with a free-kick, which flew over the bar. Though he improved, as the game reached the end, with a turn and shot hitting the post from a good 20 yards out. With an uneventful final two minutes of stoppage time, Chelsea finished the game like they had for the majority of the game, in possession. Another win, another clean sheet and no more injuries, which should please Andre Villas-Boas and Chelsea fans alike. Chelsea’s next game is against Aston Villa on Saturday 30th July at 13:30 BST.

Attendance – 33,900

Chelsea – Turnbull (Hilario 63); Ferreira, Rajković (Chalobah 76), Terry (c) (Ivanovic 63), Cole; Lampard (Mikel 63), Zhirkov (McEachran 61); Kalou, Benayoun, Malouda (Sturridge 61); Drogba (Torres 61).

Kitchee – Wang Zhenpang; Dani Guerrero, Fernando Recio, Ubay Luzardo (c), Dani Cancela; Jordi Tarrés (Lo Chi Kwan 21) (Ngan Lok Fung 78), Huang Yang (Lo Kwan Yee 72), Gao Wen (Dean Evans 53), Tsang Kam To (Liu Quankun 85), Liang Zicheng (Chu Siu Kei 58), Roberto Losada (James Ha 82).

Referee – Phil Dowd                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

by Callum Maclean

Twitter @callummaclean91


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