Chelsea down QPR
London - Chelsea's second visit to Loftus
Road was marked by controversy with Juan Mata converting a disputed
penalty to send Andre Villas-Boas's side into the FA Cup fifth round at
the expense of QPR.
The teams' first meeting in October ended with
Chelsea reduced to nine men and skipper John Terry charged with
racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
started the game with Terry included in the starting line-up four days
before the case arising from the previous game is due to be heard by
West London Magistrates Court.
This time, however, the post-match
inquest was centred on Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge who went down
theatrically under a challenge from Clint Hill, convincing referee Mike
Dean to award the decisive spot-kick.
The much anticipated tie
proved to be an anti-climax from a footballing point of view, but both
clubs will be relieved that nothing added to the tensions arising from
the fall-out from the first game.
The build-up to the game had
been highly-charged and intensified when it emerged the Metropolitan
police were investigating malicious communication sent to Ferdinand,
believed to be a shotgun cartridge.
Additional police cover had
already been planned for the game and the two clubs had issued a joint
statement in the build-up to the game pleading for calm from both sets
That did little to silence the boos and chants, directed
largely at Terry by the home supporters, but the potential confrontation
between Ferdinand and Terry before the match was removed when the FA
agreed to a request from both clubs to abandon the usual pre-match
The match itself was anything but explosive during the opening 45 minutes.
Chelsea's previous visit had provided no end of controversy, long before Terry's alleged abuse of Ferdinand.
Villas-Boas' side were guilty of losing their discipline, collecting
two red cards before the interval, yet still came close to claiming a
point in a narrow 1-0 defeat.
This time, however, the visitors
quickly assumed control of the game without converting their territorial
advantage into clear chances on goal.
Fernando Torres was again
employed as his side's main striker and while the Spain international
did well to set up a Raul Meireles volley that flew wide, he was unable
to carve out an opportunity to test Rangers keeper Paddy Kenny.
home side worked hard to contain Villas-Boas' team but were ineffective
as an attacking force and it took them 36 minutes to direct a shot at
Petr Cech's goal, a long range shot from Shaun Wright-Phillips that was
well off target.
The game finally came to life in the second
period with Mata testing Kenny just five minutes after the restart
before Torres again did well inside the area to set up Sturridge who
shot wastefully over.
Mark Hughes's side responded positively with
Wright-Phillips breaking into the Chelsea box before firing an angled
shot that Cech could only parry away.
Rangers paid a price for a
rare moment of adventure, however, as the visitors broke immediately
with a sweeping move that led to the controversial penalty.
led the attack, moving the ball out to Mata who floated a cross towards
Sturridge who fell theatrically to the ground after the slightest of
collisions with Hill.
The two players had clashed moments earlier
when Sturridge went down under a challenge from the left back only for
referee Mike Dean to wave away the Chelsea man's appeal for a penalty.
time the match official decided in favour of the striker despite QPR's
complaints Sturridge had dived and Mata converted confidently from the
Chelsea were forced to reorganise when Ramires fell
awkwardly and was stretchered off with his leg in a splint after
receiving treatment for several minutes but they adapted quickly and
retained control during the closing quarter of an hour.
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