Chelsea 2 Blackburn 1: Champions League final confidence boosting win for sixth-place Blues
16:09 GMT, 13 May 2012
John Terry and Raul Meireles put their Champions League agony aside as Chelsea warmed up for Saturday's final by winning their last Barclays Premier League game of the season.
Terry and Meireles – who are suspended for next weekend's clash with Bayern Munich – both found the net within three first-half minutes against already-relegated Blackburn.
Ayegbeni Yakubu's 18th goal of the season halved the deficit but Chelsea ended their poor league campaign on a high in what could be caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo and striker Didier Drogba's final home game at the club.
Leading from the front: Captain John Terry (right) put Chelsea in the lead
CHELSEA: Turnbull, Hutchinson (Torres 69), Ivanovic, Terry, Bertrand, Essien, Meireles, Ramires, Malouda (Ferreira 43), Sturridge, Lukaku (Drogba 54). Unused subs: Hilario, Cole, Romeu, Piazon.
Goals: Terry 31, Meireles 34
BLACKBURN: Kean, Henley, Dann, Givet, Martin Olsson, Formica (Morris 46), Lowe, Pedersen (Rochina 70), Marcus Olsson, Hoilett, Yakubu (Goodwillie 75). Unused Subs: Usai, Modeste, Grella, Petrovic.
Goals: Yakubu 60
Referee: Lee Mason
Click here for the final Premier League table
The supporters made their feeling
about the pair clear by chanting 'There's only one Di Matteo' and
'Didier Drogba, we want you to stay', but that may not be enough to
convince billionaire owner Roman Abramovich to sign them up.
Di Matteo rested all of his likely
line-up for the Champions League final, with his other two suspended
players – Ramires and Branislav Ivanovic – also starting, while Romelu
Lukaku and Sam Hutchinson made their full league debuts.
The Italian, who may need to win next
weekend to keep his job, picked a team that emphasised the dead-rubber
nature of today's match, with Chelsea already guaranteed sixth position
and relegated Rovers 19th.
But there were a few players in the
Blues side playing for places in Saturday's squad, one of whom, Florent
Malouda, caused chaos in the Blackburn box with a fine cross inside two
Goalkeeper Ross Turnbull then went a
little way to redeeming his performance in Tuesday's 4-1 thrashing at
Liverpool with a fine tip over from Jason Lowe's deflected drive.
On the rise: Romelu Lukaku beats Blackburn's Gael Givet (right)
A poor touch onto a ball over the top
let down Daniel Sturridge, Lukaku misdirected a header from a corner
and also failed to bundle his way past Blackburn debutant Jake Kean as
Chelsea continued to threaten.
Kean denied Lukaku again in the 20th
minute with a fine save as he slid in to convert a low cross from
Sturridge, who got his header all wrong moments later from the Belgian's
Half-hearted chants of 'Kean out!'
were directed at Blackburn boss Steve Kean throughout the opening
quarter, with Chelsea in complete control.
Putting the boot in: Morten Gamst Pedersen (right) thwarts Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge
A goal looked inevitable and it
arrived in the 31st minute after Terry decided to get involved in the
Blackburn half before bursting into the box to power a header from
Lukaku's excellent cross into the top corner.
It was 2-0 three minutes later as
Michael Essien got around the back of the Blackburn defence far too
easily before squaring for Meireles to drill into the bottom corner from
Lukaku nearly set up a third goal six
minutes from half-time when Kean saved well from Ramires, who almost
danced his way through moments later.
The race is on: Lukaku (left) fights for the ball with Givet
Unlike Kean, Di Matteo was enjoying
vociferous backing from his club's fans, who also applauded the arrival
of Paulo Ferreira for Malouda two minutes before the break.
Blackburn withdrew Formica for Josh
Morris at the restart and the new man arguably had their best chance
when he side-footed tamely at Turnbull.
But Chelsea had already gone close again through a lovely turn and shot from Sturridge, while Lukaku had also dragged wide.
Wave of confidence: Meireles acknowledges the Stamford Bridge crowd after scoring Chelsea's second
That was the striker's final
significant contribution as Di Matteo sent on Drogba for what could be
the Ivory Coast star's farewell to Stamford Bridge.
A chorus of 'Didier Drogba, we want you to stay,' immediately rang out at Stamford Bridge.
The home fans were silenced on the
hour mark when Yakubu pulled a goal back, glancing home Scott Dann's
header from a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner.
Blues brothers: Terry (right) leads the celebrations after giving Chelsea an early lead
Although they were almost cheering again when Ramires lifted the ball onto the crossbar after pouncing on a loose header.
Kean tipped Sturridge's deflected
half-volley wide before Fernando Torres came on for Hutchinson, and
Pedersen was withdrawn for Ruben Rochina for the final 20 minutes.
David Goodwillie arrived for Yakubu
after Sturridge horribly miscued a volley, the striker making amends
with an excellent cross that just evaded Ryan Bertrand.
Chelsea were cruising to victory, and
although Bertrand was booked in the final minute for tugging back
Olsson, Sturridge should have made the game safe when he chested wide
from three yards.
Raul's pals: Meireles is engulfed after scoring the second