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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chelsea beat Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers was a really tough rival for Chelsea, but the Blues managed to win. Second-half goals from Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba secured victory for Mourinho's team, but the scoreline only hints at the variety of drama at Ewood Park.

Hughes was upset by Lampard's penalty, awarded when Andre Ooijer tried to engage John Terry in a muscular waltz. "John Terry knows the ref is looking at him, and he decides to collapse his knees and fall in a heap," Hughes admitted. "The penalty decision was a big decision and the ref has to get it right. And he hasn't."

However, it was a clear penalty. "If a player holds on to another for two to three seconds, it is a penalty," observed the Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Terry also said: "The ref was aware he (Ooijer) had both hands … around me."

In fact, Hughes had far more legitimate grounds for complaint moments later when Ricardo Carvalho tested the strength of the stitching in Jason Roberts' shirt. "Roberts was clearly pulled back and the penalty was not given," Hughes expressed. "If he had gone down, perhaps Jason would have been given a penalty. He is just too honest."

Its' fair to say that Rovers, for whom Brett Emerton, Robbie Savage and Lucas Neill excelled, mixed up their game well, showing deftness and ruggedness. It defies belief to find them bottom of the Premier League.

Mourinho's new players were struggling to find their rhythm, although Michael Ballack's appetite was impressive. He almost engineered a chance himself midway through the half, however, it lacked the power to trouble goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Slowly, Chelsea gained in confidence. Salomon Kalou was denied a penalty when barged over by Neill. A deserved spot-kick came three minutes after the break when Lampard punished Ooijer's grappling offence.

And with nine minutes remaining, Michael Essien guided Drogba through for the second goal.

We must mention that Aston Villa beat Newcastle United 2-0 at Villa Park with first-half goals from Luke Moore and Juan Pablo Angel, while Newcastle had an afternoon to forget as new $25 million signing Obafemi Martins was taken off on a stretcher after receiving a corked leg.

The result lifted Villa into second place behind Manchester United, followed by Everton in third place and Chelsea fourth.

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