Rovers Have A Sixth Sense (Sky Sports)
Blackburn Rovers 1 Chelsea 0
Blackburn secured sixth spot and a place in Europe next season with a hard-fought 1-0 win over champions Chelsea on Tuesday night.
Steven Reid's first half goal was enough to give Mark Hughes' men the points against a much-changed Chelsea side.
Jose Mourinho made eight changes to his side that clinched the title at the weekend and it showed early on as they struggled to string together any noteworthy moves.
Blackburn tried to take advantage of the much-changed Chelsea side by utilizing the pace of Craig Bellamy and Ricardo Carvalho had to be alert to block a shot from the Welshman on six minutes.
Morten Gamst Pedersen wasted a good opening on 20 minutes when Bellamy slipped him down the left, but the Norwegian got stuck in two minds between shooting and crossing and in the end his cross was easily cleared by Asier Del Horno.
Rovers should have broken the deadlock on 27 minutes when Bellamy flicked Michael's Gray's deflected cross onto the crossbar and the ball broke to David Bentley right in front of goal, but the midfielder nodded his header wide with the goal at his mercy.
Chelsea were unlucky not to score on 35 minutes when Geremi sent over an inviting cross into the box which Eidur Gudjohnsen at full stretch got on the end of and he was unfortunate to see his left-footed effort come back off the post.
Blackburn made the breakthrough two minutes before the break, but there was some debate over who actually scored the goal.
Robbie Savage whipped over a dangerous free kick which Reid appeared to glance into the net past Carlo Cudicini.
The Welshman tried to claim the goal, but Reid got the last touch on the ball and the Republic of Ireland international made sure he was credited with the goal.
Chelsea came out for the second half in determined fashion and Brad Friedel was called into the action a minute after the break when he had to push out Gudjohnsen's volley from Geremi's cross.
A minute later Savage fashioned a chance for himself when he burst past Geremi into the box, but his low drive was saved by Cudicini.
Chelsea were posing more of a threat in the second half and Carvalho volleyed just wide from substitute Damien Duff's corner on 52 minutes.
The visitors had claims for a penalty rejected just past the hour mark when Shaun Wright-Phillips went down in the box under a challenge from Lucas Neill, but their appeals were waved away by referee Steve Bennett.
Pedersen had a half chance for Rovers on 68 minutes when the ball dropped invitingly to him on the edge of the box, but the winger dragged his shot wide of the target.
Chelsea substitute Joe Cole went close to scoring on 78 minutes when he hammered in a long-range shot which Friedel did well to punch out
The champions should have had a penalty ten minutes from time when Blackburn substitute Aaron Mokoena hauled Hernan Crespo back from getting on the end of Frank Lampard's quickly taken free kick, but much to the annoyance of the Argentine no spot-kick was awarded.
Rovers substitute Sergio Peter created an opening for Bellamy three minutes from time, but Cudicini was quickly off his line to smother the striker's shot.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Chelsea|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||2|
|3||Shots off Target||5|
Blackburn Friedel, Reid (Mokoena 72), Khizanishvili, Neill,Gray,
Bentley, Savage, Tugay (Peter 85), Pedersen,Sinama Pongolle (Kuqi 85), Bellamy
Subs Not Used Enckelman, Dickov
Booked Savage, Gray
Goals Reid 43
Cudicini, Geremi (Carlton Cole 77), Carvalho, Gallas, Del Horno (Duff 45),
Maniche, Diarra, Lampard, Wright-Phillips (Joe Cole 64), Crespo, Gudjohnsen
Subs Not Used Pidgeley, Johnson
Booked Geremi, Duff
S Bennett (Kent)