Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Blues fight back to win

Branislav Ivanovic

Branislav Ivanovic headed a dramatic 82nd-minute winner for Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea as Blackburn were punished for their missed chances in a 2-1 defeat.

The home side had only Benjani Mwaruwari's opener to show for their first-half dominance and Nicolas Anelka's 39th minute header dragged the visitors level.

Rovers should still have won it when Jason Roberts missed a glorious chance in the 81st minute and less than a minute later Ivanovic nodded home a Yury Zhirkov cross at the other end.

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce will be left reflecting on how his side finished up with nothing after an exceptional first-half display, capped by Benjani Mwaruwari's first goal for the club.

Benjani headed a 21st-minute opener as Rovers pinned Chelsea back in their own half and ought to have moved further ahead before the break.

Instead, they allowed Nicolas Anelka to fire home a 39th-minute equaliser at the end of a flowing move which saw Florent Malouda cross from the left to Didier Drogba, who headed down for Anelka to sweep home.

Rovers were far from rattled and continued to create chances in the second half, mostly through the lively and energetic Mame Biram Diouf. But the visitors fired another warning that it would only take a second to turn the game in their favour when Drogba crossed for Ashley Cole to poke a left-footed shot just wide.

Moments after coming on, Daniel Sturridge almost made an immediate impact when he ended a diagonal run with a crashing left-foot shot which flew into the side-netting.

But Rovers continued to press for a winner and it should have arrived in the 81st minute when Roberts turned inside Cole before shooting across Petr Cech.

From that moment it seemed inevitable that Rovers would be punished and they duly were less than a minute later when Ivanovic nodded in Zhirkov's left-wing cross at the far post.

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