Last season’s Carling Cup runners up Chelsea were knocked out in a penalty shootout by Championship outfit Burnley. It was the fifth consecutive shootout in which we’ve lost, our last successful one being in 1998 against Ipswich Town, in the same competition.
There were rare starts for Cudicini, Ferreira and Ivanovic in defence, plus a debut in midfield for Mineiro. The presence of Belletti in an attacking midfield role meant that three of our four right backs were on the field at once, with only Bosingwa missing out. Drogba returned to the starting lineup as the spearhead of the attack, whilst the ever-popular Wayne Bridge was named captain for the first time.
The first genuine chance of the game fell to Salmon Kalou, which he spurned almost typically. Burnley goalkeeper Jensen saved one on one, before throwing his body in front of Didier Drogba to deny the Chelsea forward any opportunity with the rebound. As Burnley countered, Cudicini made a hash of a simple catch and nearly gave away an easy goal.
Belletti was replaced in the 24th minute with an injury, Frank Lampard the replacement. He made an instant impact, releasing Drogba for the opening goal two minutes later. The Ivorian had plenty to do as he jinked around a defender, shimmied in the box and planted the ball into the bottom corner, making his first goal of the season look almost too easy.
As the half drew to a close, Jensen saved well from Malouda, before easily gathering in Lampard’s chipped rebound. Ivanovic then hit the bar from close range with a header from Malouda’s free kick. Mikel replaced Deco at half time, Mineiro moving further forward in midfield.
The second half is scant of goalmouth action, to the point where Akinbiyi replaced Paterson for Burnley and Di Santo replaced Drogba for Chelsea.
Ten minutes after his introduction, Akinbiyi equalised. Eagles’ shot was fantastically saved by Cudicini, but the Burnley forward was quickest to react to tuck the ball home in front of the visiting fans.
With five minutes remaining, Di Santo should have scored from all of five yards, but Jensen saved the header, before the Argentine spurned another great chance in stoppage time. Extra time beckoned.
Di Santo hobbled off with a hamstring tear just two minutes into the first half of extra time, reducing Chelsea to ten men, Scolari having used all three substitutions. Genuine chances however, are lacking until the second period of extra time.
Akinbiyi saw a header well saved by Cudicini, before Alex somehow missed from all of four yards. The Brazilian found himself unmarked in front of goal as Bridge swung a cross in from the left, but the Chelsea defender contrived to shoot over the bar, off balance. Lampard had a free kick saved by Jensen, before the referee blew full time after 120 minutes, penalties to decide the victors.
Alexander scored first for Burnley. Lampard responded confidently. Mahon scored for the visitors, whilst Jensen then saved from Bridge to give Burnley the advantage. It was a poorly placed penalty from the Chelsea captain. Eagles confidently netted, before Kalou showed unusual cool in front of goal to keep the Blues in it. McDonald scored, before the unlikely figure of Paulo Ferreira stepped up, needing to score to keep Chelsea in the shootout.
He did, curling a great penalty into the top left hand corner. Nonetheless, Elliott had the chance to win the match. Under pressure, he blazed over, with Cudicini diving hopelessly the wrong way. Malouda then scored, as the sides progressed to sudden death at 4-4. The centre back Duff powered the first strike home for the visitors, before goalkeeper Jensen made a stunning save from Mikel’s spot kick to send Chelsea out, and Burnley through.
And so, our first cup run under Felipe Scolari came to an abrupt end at the hands of the Championship side. Missed chances were the order of the day, as our luckless run of shootouts continued. Three losses in our last six however, means there might just be cause for concern.
Chelsea (4-1-4-1) Cudicini; Ferreira, Alex, Ivanovic, Bridge (c); Mineiro; Kalou, Belletti (Lampard 24), Deco (Mikel h-t), Malouda; Drogba (Di Santo 68).
Burnley (4-4-2) Jensen; Alexander, Duff, Caldwell (c), Jordan; Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, Eagles; Blake (Mahon 76), Paterson (Akinbiyi 59).
Referee Keith Stroud