Friday’s mini round-robin tournament between Chelsea, Fenerbahce and Besiktas – held in order to raise money for the families of the Soma mining disaster victims – saw The Blues win and lose one of each of the 45-minute games.
The first match of the competition saw the tournament hosts, Fenerbahce, fall to a 1-0 defeat against their Turkish rivals Besiktas. After this match it was Chelsea’s turn to face the Istanbul club. The team that Mourinho selected to start the tournament was one the many might have guessed would start against Burnley in Chelsea’s premier league opener. Diego Costa led the line, starting in front of a trio of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle. Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic were deployed in front of the back five that produced such an impressive defensive record last season: Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry and Azpilicueta, with Cech in goal.
Having already played a 45 minute game, Fenerbahce started a few paces slower than Chelsea, with Oscar almost playing in Diego Costa in the opening 20 seconds. After 11 minutes, Eden Hazard put a perfectly weighted pass through to Oscar, which the Brazilian put in the back of the net – only to then be questionably judged offside. Ten minutes later, Chelsea’s goalkeeping dilemma took another twist as Cech produced a phenomenal save to deny Fenerbahce’s Alper Potuk, who headed goalwards from only a few yards out. Almost immediately, however, the deadlock was broken by a goal that Chelsea fans will have delighted in seeing. With his back to goal almost 40 yards away, Diego Costa received the ball and held off one Fenerbahce player before running towards goal and skipping past two more on the edge of the 18 yard box, finishing off the move with a coolly placed shot in the bottom corner.
The next incident of the game involving the Chelsea front man was far less easy to stomach. No fan wants to see their players get as angry and heated in a pre-season game as Diego Costa did, but on this occasion the Spaniard was justified, having been on the wrong end of a horrendous challenge from defender Bruno Alves. The Portuguese defender would have been lucky to escape a sending off in a competitive match, but was only booked for this two-footed tackle. Tellingly, he was substituted minutes later. The free-kick that resulted, however, gave Chelsea their second goal of the game. Volkan Demirel, could only parry Schurrle’s fierce shot, which was pounced upon by Branislav Ivanovic.
Former Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles went close for the second time of the night with a low shot shortly after Ivanovic’s goal, but that was the last of any notable Fenerbahce involvement. Didier Drogba was subjected to plenty of boos and jeers when he came on, having played for Galatasaray, but he too came close to scoring, flashing a half-volley over the bar in what was to be the last chance of a game that ended 2-0 to Chelsea.
Chelsea’s second game of the evening, 45 minutes against Besiktas, was a game that proved to be a lot less absorbing, as the unusual format of the friendlies took their toll on the players’ energy levels. Besiktas, who had to take a surely stiffening hour break in between their two games, were rarely able to get out of first gear, with Chelsea controlling the majority of possession throughout. The Blues were far less incisive in this game though, perhaps not wanting to over-exert themselves given the start of the Premier League is almost upon us.
The closest that Chelsea came to scoring against Besiktas was half-way through, with a trademark Drogba free-kick being well saved by goalkeeper Gonen. Demba Ba was introduced to the fray, and he came close to scoring against his former club, with Cech saving well at his near post. The resulting corner, however, was one that the Chelsea defence would want to forget, as they failed to deal with the in-swinging cross. The result was that Cech was caught in no-man’s-land with the ball landing at the feet of Gulum, who was able to snatch the victory as well as the tournament.
Overall it was another night in which the fitness of the team was more important than the result, but it was also a night in which football was able to make a positive difference to