Belfast Telegraph

Blues bans boo Rafa in bore draw

Rafael Benitez was booed off instead of on to the field after Chelsea produced a second straight 0-0 draw in the west London derby against Fulham.

Three days after Benitez's first game in charge of the Blues saw him endure a savage reception from his new club's supporters, he was unable to turn the jeers into cheers as they slipped further off the pace in the Barclays Premier League.

And, as on Sunday against Manchester City, they could have easily lost against a Fulham side who had the better of the chances and a striker in Dimitar Berbatov who completely outshone opposite number Fernando Torres.

David Luiz's skied free-kick was the first shot at goal after 25 minutes, the creativity of the rested Juan Mata becoming more and more conspicuous by its absence.

Some speedy football from Oscar finally created a real chance just before the half hour but Fernando Torres' weak shot on the turn from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross was straight at Mark Schwarzer.

Shortly after the restart Mahamadou Diarra stopped Oscar finishing off Eden Hazard's pass - but Chelsea could have fallen behind twice in quick succession inside 10 minutes.

Firstly, an errant offside flag rescued the Blues after Berbatov perfectly timed his run on to Diarra's flighted ball, then Petr Cech saving from John Arne Riise following a flowing breakaway.

Ramires and Giorgios Karagounis both sent shots too close to either goalkeeper before Mata finally arrived, Ryan Bertrand making way.

Riise produced a fierce drive Cech only just repelled before Torres found some space with just over 10 minutes remaining - but his angled volley after good chest control was cleared by Aaron Hughes and may have been going wide anyway.

The Cottagers' Kerim Frei had a dubious penalty appeal turned down before Marko Marin was handed his Premier League debut in place of Hazard and Mladen Petric came on for Hugo Rodallega.


From Belfast Telegraph