Chelsea Held by Blackburn  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 0 Blackburn Rovers 0

Jose Mourinho and Mark HughesChelsea were left to rue a controversial offside decision in their goalless draw against Blackburn.

The Blues thought they had taken the lead in the 58th minute when Salomon Kalou slotted home, but they were to be denied by a dubious offside flag as Blackburn held on for a point

Chelsea had found the going tough at first but, having found their rhythm, it was only a world class save from Brad Freidel that denied Michael Essien giving them the lead from 20 yards.

Chances were few and far between for Rovers, but they could have taken the lead on the stroke of half time when Morten Gamst Pedersen volleyed into the side netting, having been picked out by David Bentley for his team's best chance of the match.

Chelsea then dominated the second half, but with Andrei Shevchenko spurning two good chances up front in place of the injured Didier Drogba, they could not find a winner.

Samba worry

The Londoners may have squandered a host of chances but Blackburn, who lost defender Christopher Samba late in the game with a serious head injury, could have stolen the points themselves if Petr Cech had not tipped Robbie Savage's late effort over the crossbar.

Chelsea were bidding to take their unbeaten home run in the top flight to 66 games but without the driving force of the injured Frank Lampard in midfield and the strength of Drogba in attack, the Blues struggled to gain control of the game.

Drogba's absence was underlined in the 22nd minute when Juliano Belletti broke free down the right flank, only for his perfect cross was headed over the bar by Shevchenko.

In the 27th minute Chelsea were prevented from taking the lead by a superb acrobatic save from Friedel.

Joe Cole's mazy run ended with his attempted pass to Kalou falling at the feet of Essien on the edge of the penalty area. The Ghanaian sent a powerful half-volley towards the top corner only to see the American keeper fly to his left to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Captain Amercia

Shevchenko's touch let him down when Essien put him through on goal moments later, before Shaun Wright-Phillips tried his luck with a 20-yard low drive.

Morten Gamst Pedersen wasted a good chance for Blackburn three minutes before the break when he fired into the side netting at the far post.

A sign of Mourinho's displeasure with his team's failure to break down Rovers saw him make a double substitution in the 54th minute, Florent Malouda replacing Wright-Phillips and Mikel John Obi taking over from Steve Sidwell.

The change almost brought instant results when Belletti's cross was turned in by Kalou but was controversially ruled out by referee Howard Webb for offside.

Temper temper

It ended with Webb having to ask Mourinho to calm down but TV replays suggested the Chelsea manager had a good case for the goal looked to be perfectly legal.

Savage took advantage of some sloppy Chelsea defending to force Cech into a fine one-handed save in the 76th minute but moments later Kalou sent a shot inches wide of the target at the opposite end.

Then six minutes from time, Shevchenko's header from a cross by Malouda was again brilliantly saved by Friedel.

However, the Ukraine striker's boot met the head of Samba as he tried to control the rebound and, after a lengthy delay, the Rovers player was stretchered off with a serious head injury.


Chelsea Cech, Alex, Belletti, A. Cole (Ben-Haim 88), Terry, J. Cole, Essien, Sidwell (Mikel 57), Wright-Phillips (Malouda 57), Kalou, Shevchenko
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Ferreira
Booked J. Cole, Belletti

Blackburn Rovers Friedel, Nelsen, Samba (Ooijer 90), Warnock, Bentley, Dunn (Mokoena 81), Emerton, Pedersen, Savage, McCarthy (Roberts 68), Santa Cruz
Subs Not Used Brown, Derbyshire
Booked Warnock, Savage


Attendance 41,062

Referee  H. Webb

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