FC Chelsea 2 – MSK Zilina 1


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Ivory Coast World Cup striker DIDIER DROGBA of FC Chelsea, who scored six goals in the first six Premier League games to start the new season but has not put a ball in back of the net during a domestic match since, attempts to take the ball of the feet of MSK Zilina’s Nigerian-born Benin international midfielder ISSAIKA BABATOUNDE BELLO at Stamford Bridge in the capital city of England. (Eddie Keogh/Reuters)
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UEFA Champions League
Group Stage
11/23/2010

2 – FC Chelsea (ENG) ——— Sturridge 51, Malouda 86′
1 – MSK Zilina (SVK) ———- Bello 19′

A learning experience then for the younger players in the line-up as a pair of second half goals overturned an early deficit as FC CHELSEA clipped visiting Slovak side MSK ZILINA 2-1 to win a fifth game on the trot and clinch first place in Group F of the UEFA Champions League.

MSK Zilina, who were annihilated at home 7-0 by French Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille on their last outing in Europe, took the lead before even twenty minutes had been played when Benin international midfielder ISSAIKA BABATOUNDE BELLO exchanged passes with club captain ROBERT JEZ to knife right through the heart of the FC Chelsea defense and toe-poke past the Blues’ reserve goalkeeper ROSS TURNBULL.

And so FC Chelsea, who would finish with a clearly one-sided 25-6 edge in the shots-at-goal category, went to the break down a goal to winless-in-Group F and bottom of the table MSK Zilina.

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With visiting goalkeeper MARTIN DUBRAVKA guarding his post, Ivory Coast World Cup striker SALOMON KALOU of FC Chelsea is dispossesed by the slide tackle of MSK Zilina’s Slovakia international defender MARIO PECALKA (3) as fellow defender LUBOMIR GULDAN (5), who spent the 2007-08 season with FC Thun in Switzerland, at Stamford Bridge in London. (Nick Potts/AP)
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19-year-old France youth international striker GAEL KAKUTA was withdrawn by Chelsea at halftime in favor of Ivory Coast World Cup striker SALOMON KALOU. The substitution paid immediate dividends in the sixth minute of the second half when a cross from Kalou on the left was not properly cut out and allowed to roll right across the face of goal. Arriving on the right was England U-21 international striker DEAN STURRIDGE, who gladly stuffed the ball past Slovakia U-21 international goalkeeper MARTIN DUBRAVKA in between the sticks for MSK Zilina to bring the Blues level.

Chelsea continued to press for a winner but found Dubravka difficult to beat; the MSK Zilina shot-stopper was forced to make an impressive save with the free kick of Ivory Coast World Cup striker DIDIER DROGBA on the hour.

Another front-line substitution factored prominently in the end after Sturridge was replaced by France World Cup striker NICOLAS ANELKA, who tops Chelsea with 10 goals in all competitions this season; with less than five minutes remaining in the match, the Frenchman’s cross found Drogba in the area, who headed the ball straight into the path of the anticipating France World Cup striker FLORANT MALOUDA, the Blues’ leading goal-scorer with seven strikes in the Premiership.

Malouda left the beleaguered Dubravka little chance and bagged his first goal for FC Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League this campaign.

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The flying Slovakia U-21 international goalkeeper MARTIN DUBRAVKA, after getting his palm to the formidable 60th minute free kick of FC Chelsea’s Ivory Coast World Cup striker DIDIER DROGBA, anxiously watches the ball just before it rebounds safely off the woodwork at Stamford Bridge. (Matt Dunham/AP)
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FC CHELSEA : Turnbull – Ferreira, Bruma, Ivanovic, van Aanholt – Ramires, McEachran (Mellis 90′), Malouda – Kakuta (Kalou 46′), Drogba, Sturridge (Anelka 74′)

MSK ZILINA : Dubravka – Angelovic, Piacek, Pecalka, Gergel – Matjan (Poliacek 86′), Bello, Guldan, Jez, Vladavic (Rilke 90′) – Oravec (Ceesay 64′)

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21-year-old Benin international midfielder ISSIAKA BABTOUNDE BELLO (28) of MSK Zilina, who has been on the books of the Slovak club since signing from Beninese club FC Soleil in 2006, races off after a fine finish against FC Chelsea for a stunning opening goal in the first half at Stamford Bridge. (Kirsten Wigglesworth/AP)
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England U-21 international striker DEAN STURRIDGE of FC Chelsea, who has scored one goal in 20 Premier League games for the London club since arriving from Manchester City in July of 2009 for an initial fee of 3.5 million English pounds, equalizes in the second half at Stamford Bridge with his second goal in as many matches opposite MSK Zilina in the UEFA Champions League this term. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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MSK Zilina defender JOZEF PIACEK (15) is powerless to prevent his opposite number for FC Chelsea, the seated France World Cup winger FLORENT MALOUDA, from scoring the game-winning goal for the Blues at Stamford Bridge in the capital city of England. (Eddie Keogh/Reuters)
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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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