Toffees come unstuck at the Blues
Written By: Robert Halter
It was a game of farewells at Stamford Bridge for the final game of the season as Rafael Benitez ended his spell as interim manager at Chelsea, after guiding the Blues to success with a 2-1 victory over Benfica in the Europa League final while David Moyes had his last match in charge of Everton to end an eleven year period at the club before taking the hot seat at Manchester United after the retirement of Alex Ferguson. A golden boot was received by Frank Lampard from Bobby Tambling prior to kick off as an acknowledgement for Lampard’s achievements after his two goals at Aston Villa made him the Blues all time leading goal scorer as he reached the two hundred and three mark. In the third minute, hesitancy by Marouane Fellani, went unpunished when Demba Ba miss fired in front of the target as Sylvain Distin tried to avert the danger. But four minutes later, the Blues went ahead as Oscar slipped the ball through to Ba and as Tim Howard failed to hold onto Ba’s effort, Juan Mata followed up to tuck away the rebound. The Toffees responded in the tenth minute but Steven Naismith steered the ball wide, after a well placed cross from Seamus Coleman. However Everton did find a route back into the game in the fourteenth minute when David Luiz lost control of the ball before Victor Anichebe and Naismith combined on the edge of the box as Naismith took the ball in his stride before despatching his shot into the right side of the goal. It could have been worse for Chelsea four minutes later when Leighton Baines laid the ball off to Darron Gibson, whose strike from distance deflected off Nathan Ake before cannoning off the inside of the right post onto the head of Petr Cech and against the woodwork again before bouncing away for safety. In the twenty ninth minute, Ake had a pot shot at goal which flew over, after Lampard had set up the chance. Within three minutes, Mata went close but his shot was blocked by Howard, after a pass through the middle by Lampard. The Toffees responded again in the thirty eighth minute, after a lay off by Naismith to Steven Pienaar, who curled the ball narrowly over on the edge of the area. Two minutes into the second half, Gary Cahill had his low shot saved by Howard from a Mata corner as the Blues looked for an early opening. On fifty four minutes, Ba failed to capitalise on a mistake by Toffees captain Phil Jagielka, as Ba miscued his strike. In the first change, the Blues brought on Victor Moses for Ba and Everton took off Naismith for Nikica Jelavic as well as replacing Anichebe for John Heitinga. In the sixty seventh minute, Branislav Ivanovic sent a low drive past the target before Cech had to respond and clasp a diving header by Jelavic at the other end of the field, after Jelavic had linked up with Fellani. A slip by Ivanovic presented Baines with the opportunity to deliver a low cross to Jelavic but the Toffees striker was unable to find a connection at full stretch in the seventy third minute. Chelsea then seized the initiative two minutes later as Oscar’s cross was headed down by Moses and Fernando Torres pounced to hammer his shot into the right side of the net. Jelavic wasted a chance to level the score in the eighty first minute as his half hit shot was collected by Cech from Pienaar’s ball in. Mata was taken off for Cesar Azpilicueta near the end. Cech was at his very best to deny Jelavic’s goal bound header from a Baines cross as the Chelsea keeper sprung into action with an amazing save, five minutes from normal time. Oscar then made way for Paulo Ferreira, in his final Chelsea game before retirement. As the season drew to a close, the 2-1 win over the Toffees had secured the Blues third place in the Premier League and qualification to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the next campaign.