Bordeaux keep Chelsea at bay
© AFP

Chelsea must wait on a seventh straight appearance in the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League after Bordeaux held them 1-1 while the Blues also had Frank Lampard sent off on a night of European drama. Alou Diarra headed home from a corner with seven minutes remaining to cancel out Nicolas Anelka's opener as the French side carved out a well-deserved point to send Group A down to the final round of action on 9 and 10 December.

Chelsea keeper Petr Cech said Chelsea should not have dropped points. "The moment we scored the goal I thought it was over. I think we should have done better - we should have closed the door," the big Czech said.

It was not a virtuoso performance from last season's finalists and they were somewhat fortunate to escape with a point despite taking the lead on the hour mark. The West Londoners had to wait until the 60th minute for their first shot on goal but when it came, Anelka made Bordeaux pay for all their wasted first half chances in the most clinical fashion.

Lampard was the catalyst as he picked up the loose ball in midfield and sprung Anelka with a through ball that caught the Bordeaux defence completely out of position. The French international then did the rest as he raced clear, faked a couple of shots that brought keeper Matthieu Valverde to his knees before coolly tucking the ball inside the right post for his second goal of the competition and 14th of the season.

It was harsh on the French runners-up, who had given their more illustrious opponents a torrid time up to Anelka's strike. The goal rattled Bordeaux as Scolari's side sensed the perfect away win that would send them into the next round and they settled back into their possession game, assuming the hard work had been done.

But Diarra sent the Bordeaux faithful home happy with his near post header that also keeps Laurent Blanc's side in the chase for a place in the last 16.
Chelsea must now get a result at home to CFR Cluj in their final match while Bordeaux travel to Roma to determine who claims the top two spots in the pool. However, the London side will be without Lampard who was sent off for a second bookable offence with four minutes left.

Bordeaux were determined to make ammends following their 4-0 drubbing at Stamford Bridge in September and came out full of enthusiasm. However, despite owning most of the ball, the Girondins created the first real scoring chance on seven minutes when a rasping low drive from Brazilian international Fernando forced Petr Cech to dive smartly to his right and tip the ball round the post.

Bordeaux defender Matthieu Chalme then had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring on 19 minutes when the ball fell to him with a clean sight of goal but his fierce close range drive was again well blocked by the Czech number one. Urged on by boisterous home support, the Chelsea defence looked far from assured and defender Jose Bosingwa was having a nightmare on the right flank.

Michael Ballack, starting his first game since recovering from a foot injury, looked short of match fitness as he allowed Yoann Gourcuff to steal the ball and produce a dazzling piece of skill on 21 minutes before the overworked Cech again came to Chelsea's rescue.

To make matters worse, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole were all booked in quick succession in what was a physical half in which Bordeaux had seven shots on goal to Chelsea's none.  Chelsea improved after the break and looked as if they had wrapped up qualification with Anelka's strike before Diarra came to the rescue.