Chelsea limply departed European competition last night, knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Jose Mourinho’s well drilled and tactically excellent Internazionale side, who won 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.
Yuri Zhirkov came into the side at left back, whilst a fit again Ricardo Carvalho was only on the bench with Alex preferred. Ross Turnbull was between the sticks in the continued absence of Cech and Hilario.
Ballack and Drogba both had attempts on goal in the first half, which was relatively even until the last five or so minutes. Chelsea didn’t want the half time whistle to blow and when it did, it halted a good period of Chelsea pressure.
The second half started in much the same vain, before Inter knuckled down. Mourinho was in vintage form on the touchline, gesticulating widely as Ancelotti stood, pensieve and emotionless a few metres away.
Joe Cole replaced Ballack and it was Sneider who exploited the sizeable gap left by Ballack’s departure. Pulling the strings now, the Dutchman set up Samuel Eto’o to fire past the previously untested Turnbull.
Cole was woefully ineffective, whilst fellow sub Kalou wasn’t much better. Inter controlled the ball beautifully once they had the lead and in truth, Chelsea never looked like getting the goals they needed.
Didier Drogba was sent off late on for a supposed stamp on Thiago Motta, though the Inter player clearly made a larger deal out of it than was necessary. Eto’o could have iced the cake even later on, but Turnbull distinguished himself by making a fine reaction stop.
In the end though, Ancelotti and more so Ancelotti’s men, were found wanting. Jose Mourinho though, proved why he is still The Special One.