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Cottagers pay the penalty

Written By: Robert Halter

Local neighbours Fulham were the visitors to Stamford Bridge for the third round of the Carling Cup as Chelsea met the Cottagers for the first time in the competition since 1985 which then ended in a 1-1 draw with the Blues winning a replay at Craven Cottage. Chelsea still held the upper hand and looked to extend an unbeaten run against Fulham to eleven games but both teams were under strength with Martin Jol including Bryan Ruiz, Zdenek Grygera, Karlm Frei, Marcel Gecov, Pajtim Kasami and Orlando Sa while Andre Villas Boas started with Josh McEachran, Ryan Bertrand and new signings Oriol Romeu and Romelu Lukaku, none of whom were first team regulars. The first chance fell on seventeen minutes when Salomon Kalou failed to get a connection on a header from Florent Malouda’s cross and three minutes later Romeu left Matthew Briggs stranded and tested Schwarzer with a low drive before Malouda touched the ball onto Kalou again, but his effort was drilled wide after another chance created by the Blues from open play. Alex was at hand as his outstretched leg kept out the advancing Sa on twenty five minutes when the Cottagers pressed forward and then a minute later Sa put his shot into the side netting. Lukaku spearheaded a Chelsea attack in the thirty fourth minute but the final shot was put into the side netting by Malouda. When McEachran steered the ball past Schwarzer, the simple tap in by Daniel Sturridge was ruled offside on thirty eight minutes as the Blues were denied an opener. Ross Turnbull replaced the injured Petr Cech in the Blues goal at half time and Chelsea were up and running a minute into the re-start when Frank Lampard’s through ball was hit against the right outside netting by Kalou. But the match turned on forty eight minutes when Alex received a straight red card for a foul on Frei and referee Chris Foy awarded Fulham a spot kick but Kasami was unable to take advantage as he smashed the dead ball against the crossbar. A Malouda effort was scrambled clear by Schwarzer on seventy minutes before Turnbull blocked Mousa Dembele’s effort the other end of the field, two minutes later. Although it was a reaction save by Turnbull that prevented an own goal from John Terry off a Matthew Briggs cross within moments of his previous save. Bertrand tried to manufacture an opportunity on seventy four minutes and within two minutes Lukaku attempted to force the ball at the target from Lampard’s corner as Grygera made a goal line clearance. Towards the end of normal time David Luiz fired his shot into Schwarzer as the game headed for extra time. Malouda was unable to convert the only effort in the first period and three minutes from the end of the second period the Cottagers’ Steve Sidwell hit a volley narrowly over from a Stephen Kelly cross as one of the former Blues was unable to convert against his old club. In the final piece of action Luiz headed over a Lampard corner as the match was decided on penalties. Lampard’s first kick was saved by Schwarzer, then Bobby Zamora, Luiz, Sidwell and Terry all scored before Turnbull saved Dembele’s spot kick, this was followed by successful strikes from Kalou, Chris Baird and Malouda before Ruiz hit the ball against the underside of the crossbar to give Chelsea a 4-3 win on penalties.