Blues comfortable in victory
A typically efficient Chelsea booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win over QPR.
Last Updated: 05/01/08 5:59pm
A typically efficient Chelsea were rarely tested as they claimed a 1-0 triumph over rivals Queens Park Rangers to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
A first-half own goal from Lee Camp was enough for the FA Cup holders, who dominated large periods of play.
While Avram Grant's men retained the ball extremely well, clear-cut chances were few and far between.
But on 28 minutes Claudio Pizarro worked his way into a decent position before seeing his effort rebound off the post and hit Camp to trickle into the net.
The Blues were in control from the beginning and almost opened the scoring in the 12th minute when a cross from Ashley Cole had to be turned behind by Rangers defender Chris Barker at the far post.
The visitors demonstrated they were capable of surprising Chelsea on the counter attack when Cole was robbed by Gareth Ainsworth in the 15th minute.
However, Ainsworth's cross was not accurate enough for Dexter Blackstock to punish Chelsea for their defensive lapse.
Chelsea squandered yet another chance in the 22nd minute when a cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips was missed by Pizarro on the edge of the six-yard box.
But in the 29th minute Chelsea went ahead after Salomon Kalou played a neat pass into the feet of Pizarro, who cleverly turned on the edge of the penalty area before firing a 20-yard shot against the post. Camp could do little as the ball rebounded off him into the net.
Rangers had little in response with a tame header from Ainsworth easily dealt with by Hilario.
The Championship side may have become financially richer than Chelsea off the pitch but the gulf in quality was distinctly in the home team's favour on it.
It was further epitomised by a flowing Chelsea move in which Pizarro fed Wright-Phillips on the right flank but the England winger's scorching shot flashed wide of the target.
Kalou should have done better when a free-kick from Wright-Phillips fell perfectly to the Ivory Coast international on the penalty spot but the ball cannoned off his thigh and Camp was able to catch the ball comfortably.
Akos Buzsaky tried his luck from 20 yards when given a clear sight at goal by the Chelsea defence but his effort was far too high.
Chelsea almost grabbed a second moments before half-time but Steve Sidwell's long-range thunderbolt hit the post.
Camp pulled off a fine save to deny Chelsea a second goal in the 47th minute when he dived to his right to keep out a low 40-yard free-kick from Brazilian defender Alex.
Patrick Agyemang's height and physical prowess gave Rangers another dimension in attack and it almost brought instant rewards for the visitors.
The tall striker knocked the ball down for the onrushing Martin Rowlands to sweep a 20-yard shot just inches over the crossbar with Hilario well beaten.
It was a different Rangers now and moments later Rowlands again tried his luck from an identical distance but this time Hilario held onto the ball.
But Rangers were lucky that Pizarro could not find the net when he strode clear of their defence in the 56th minute.
The Peruvian striker looked certain to score but blazed the ball over the crossbar from six yards.
Grant had clearly seen enough and Didier Drogba was introduced on the hour for his first appearance since undergoing knee surgery at the beginning of December.
It was hardly the most convincing of performances from Grant's side but given their glut of injuries, the Israeli will be happy enough with a place in the next round.
|Team Name||Chelsea||Queens Park Rangers|
|Shots On Target||4||1|
|Shots Off Target||6||2|