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28 January 2012
• Loftus Road Stadium, London
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 15728
Queens Park Rangers
Well that's me done for today, but there's bound to be post-match reaction to look out for from both managers. Be sure to check out other LIVE! commentaries on Goal.com on this Saturday of fourth-round FA Cup action.
It was hardly a vintage performance from Villas-Boas' side, but the Portuguese coach won't complain. The Blues have reached the fifth-round for the 13th time in 14 seasons with that win, and avenged the 1-0 Premier League loss earlier in the season at Loftus Road.
A late flurry of pressure from the Hoops is not enough to salvage a draw then, but it would have been an unjust on the Blues. Admittedly the penalty decision was softer than candy floss, but QPR lived up to their poor FA Cup reputation with a second-rate performance. It will be interesting to see how manager Hughes rates the fourth-round showing.
90' + 9'
Full-time and the match finishes QPR 0-1 Chelsea! After an uneventful first half, the visitors snatched a win with a penalty conversion by winger Juan Mata. The decision itself was a debateable one as Daniel Sturridge went down very softly in the area, but Rangers boss Mark Hughes cannot complain too much as his side were poor at Loftus Road and it was a deserved victory for Andre Villas-Boas’ men.
90' + 8'
So close for QPR! Right-back Luke Young takes a touch with his chest then drives the ball to the right of Cech, but the shot-stopper saved impressively. In the final 20 seconds the home side showed more attacking intent than the previous 98 minutes!
90' + 6'
Yellow Card Oriol Romeu
90' + 6'
Romeu absolutely annihilates for a poor tackle on Hulse. Barton takes the free-kick from the left but Chelsea keeper Petr Cech leaves his line and easily catches the lofted cross.
90' + 5'
Chelsea are looking comfortable on the ball but have no intent to throw men towards goal this late into the match. QPR are scrabbling the man in the direction of the Blues but their threat continues to be minimal.
90' + 2'
Michael Essien is brought on for goalscorer Juan Mata. The Spain international converted calmly on the penalty spot and, barring any late heroics, was man of the match for me.
90' + 1'
Seven minutes of stoppage time are coming up here at Loftus Road. The action is dying off and the home side are putting in a poor effort at snatching a late equaliser.
David Luiz fouls substitute Rob Hulse on QPR's right flank, but Joey Barton's anticipated cross is - simply put - rubbish, and doesn't clear the two-man wall ahead of him.
As the game winds on it looks as though we won't see new Rangers signing Nedum Onuoha and Chelsea's very own new centre-back Gary Cahill.
The odd QPR attack aside, this game has been Chelsea's to throw away, and the visitors continue to weave forwards at every opportunity. Cole makes a crucial interception on the edge of the box when Buzsaky bombards goalwards on the right.
QPR win a corner but the right-footed corner from Joey Barton is too heavy and drifts harmlessly to the opposite side of the box.
As Chelsea pass the ball around the middle of the pitch, news indicates it was a knee injury that Ramires suffered.
The players look restless and the crowd sound it, as Ramires is finally stretchered off the field of play. You can bet your bottom dollar there will be a huge block of stoppage time at the end of the match.
We're having quite an extended break in play as Ramires is seen to by the Chelsea medical team. Oriol Romeu is set to take his place on the field.
Chelsea midfielder Ramires looks in a lot of pain. Replays indicate the Brazil international twisted or pulled something in his leg when making a block on the Blues' goal. From the obvious distress he's in, it does not look good for manager Villas-Boas.
Yellow Card Ashley Cole
Torres tries to feed Mata through the parted QPR back-line but is pressured into making a poor pass. Yellow card to Chelsea's Ashley Cole for a rash challenge on former team-mate Shaun Wright-Phillips.
All the pre-game speculation may have been on Anton Ferdinand and John Terry, but both players have been in the background today. Terry does rise admirably to head away a chip towards the area, bringing about a chorus of boos with his solitary touch.
Chelsea have shown no signs of taking their foot off the pedal. A pause in play as referee Mike Dean has a quick word with a steward on the edge of the pitch, it's not clear what about.
Luiz attempts to feed Sturridge in behind the QPR defence but Kenny collects.
The hosts look considerably shaken by that goal but are in control of the ball at the moment. They have 25 minutes of normal time to get an equaliser - can they do it? Or will Chelsea come away with the win this afternoon?
The penalty decision was certainly dubious, but QPR must respond with their actions and not with complaints if they are to get through to the fifth-round of the FA Cup.
Penalty Goal Juan Mata
Juan Mata scores from the spot in Frank Lampard's absence, and sends the visitors 1-0 up! The Spaniard sends Paddy Kenny the wrong way and places the ball in the bottom right-hand corner. The away fans are delirious, the home fans are furious.
Our man at Loftus Road, Jay Jaffa, has a quick word before the spot-kick: "Penalty to Chelsea and it's controversial. It looks very soft from here as Clint Hill barely leant on Daniel Sturridge but referee Mike Dean gave it immediately."
PENALTY TO CHELSEA! Clint Hill is deemed to have pushed Daniel Sturridge inside the box when a lofted ball came in from the left for Chelsea.
Wright-Phillips manages to burst past Ashley Cole when the England defender is blocked and he forces a sideways save from Chelsea keeper Cech.
Sturridge wants a penalty but he has to settle for a corner. Replays show the striker flung himself on the floor as he saw the ball dribble out of play inside the box. Naughty, naughty.
Mark Hughes' men continue to chase shadows as the visitors pour forwards. Whenever QPR are on the ball the crowd urge them on, but the players are struggling to get through the strong Chelsea back-line.
This second half might be a more lively affair but one thing has not changed: the dominance of Chelsea. Centre-back David Luiz takes a touch and has an ambitious 40-yard shot which dribbles wide of Kenny's right post.
Blues fans have pause to be optimistic. Torres is looking more like his former self, dummying two Hoops defenders inside the right edge of the box before calmly laying off Sturridge. The former Manchester City forward's shot is powerful but blazes over the bar.
Five minutes gone and it's already far more lively than the previous 45. Mata beats the offside trap and takes a quickfire shot from 15-yards out inside the left half of the are, but it's straight at QPR keeper Paddy Kenny who saves the effort and holds well.
Yellow Card Fitz Hall
Mata whips a free-kick in from near the QPR by-line on the left. Barton attempts to clear but Sturridge wrestles control of the ball in the Rangers' penalty area. His shot is blocked by a wall of bodies though and the ball is cleared to safety.
Jamie Mackie and Tommy Smith, both peripheral figures in the first-half, work well together as the home side work the ball down the right. Luke Young's cross deflects back into the centre towards Smith, but the midfielder sees his shot well blocked by Raul Meireles.
Chelsea get the final 45 minutes underway at Loftus Road.
It turns out Macheda will be brought on for the second-half, for this season's top scorer Heidar Helguson. I'm not going to say Mark Hughes reads these LIVE! commentaries but...
Not long until both sides get the second-half started. From a neutral perspective I'm praying both sides throw caution to the wind and go all-out-attack, but that's probably deluded optimism.
What about Mark Hughes, the QPR manager? How happy will he be at half-time? His side has put in a solid defensive shift but have been barren in the opposite half. Federico Macheda, on loan from Manchester United, is an attacking option at the former Manchester City boss' disposal. Or will the coach be happy with holding the Blues to a draw this afternoon? Surely a fourth-round replay at Stamford Bridge would rather be avoided?
What can Andre Villas-Boas do at half-time to change the game in Chelsea's favour do you think? Should he haul Torres off or do you think the £50 million man - who has been at the club nearly a year now - should be given the chance to make his mark on at Loftus Road? Romelu Lukaku, who had a half-decent cameo last weekend, will be desperate to prove his worth from the bench. Daniel Sturridge has been muted for much of the match, maybe it's the England Under-21 forward who should be sacrificed?
Well, hardly a match to set the fourth-round alight. Don't desert me just yet though, Goal.com visitors. Who knows, we could see an absolute goal-fest in the latter 45 minutes!
45' + 1'
Hal-time at Loftus Road, where the atmosphere was buzzing and exciting before the game began but is now muted and stifled by the lack of attacking play from Mark Hughes' men. QPR have defended professionally but Chelsea look to only be in third gear. I don't know about you, but I'm praying this will prove to be the proverbial game of two halves.
Torres puts the ball forward to Ramires, who tumbles down softly. Cue the weakest penalty shout I have seen in a long time, which referee Mike Dean rightly ignores. Stoppage time will apparently be at least one minute. Hopefully the second half will herald more eye-catching performances.
Credit to Akos Buzsaky and Joey Barton for the way they have harrassed the Blues midfield and forced them to attack on the flanks. Andre Villas-Boas' side still look the better side and the more promising in ttack, but no breakthrough as of yet.
Juan Mata is one hell of a player. Even in a poor Chelsea performances the Spain attacker has been in fine and form. The former Valencia man does an inspired backheel on the right wing to put Ramires through behind the home side's defence, but no one is there to head the ball in when the Brazilian whips the ball across the face of goal.
QPR get a corner but Cech collects the bouncing and bobbling ball after a few ricochets. Chelsea try to counter-attack but the opposition get back into shape before they can get into gear.
Wright-Phillips lofts an effort from 20-yards out on the counter well over the Chelsea goal. Blues fans taunt their former player, and really the England international should have done better.
Raul Meireles has a shot from 25-yards out which angles and dips over Kenny's right upright.
More dominance from Chelsea but their is still a lack of cutting edge from the away side. As for Mark Hughes' men, they seem happy to defend for now.
Ashley Cole lofts a ball from within the box on the left but it just drifts over Sturridge who was hovering at the back post.
Yellow Card Shaun Wright-Phillips
Florent Malouda breaks through the back-four on the left wing but he wastes the attack by carelessly kicking the ball at the nearest Hoops man. Plenty of wild slide tackles are flying in and the first yellow card has been given to ex-Blues midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Torres controls the ball neatly from Ivanovic's throw-in on the right, but as he wiggles into the box he take a heavy touch and loses possession. Still, bright football from the Spaniard as Chelsea persist in their pursuit for the opening goal of the game.
Ashley Cole keeps the ball in play on the left and dinks the goal towards the left edge of the six-yard box, but QPR defender Clint Hill puts it out for a corner. Mata's subsequent corner is deflected towards David Luiz just inside the area, and the Brazilian centre-back attempts an acrobatic over-head kick, which flies miles over the crossbar.
Young squares the ball across the edge of the box at some speed from the right wing, but Tommy Smith opts to leave the ball - in hindsight a mistake as no team-mate was waiting beyond him.
A ball in from Ivanovic near the by-line loops towards the back post but Torres cannot climb to get a good header goalwards. The hosts have maintained their shape well as Chelsea come forward.
Joey Barton whips a free-kick in from the left for the home side but the visitors clear the high ball with ease. The crowd have become subdued (what with all Chelsea's possession), but you get the feeling that if QPR get a clear chance on goal they will liven up again.
Some more words of wisdom from, Goal.com's Jay Jaffa, who is at Loftus Road this afternoon: "Juan Mata draws a smart save from Paddy Kenny with the first main chance of the match. Chelsea are on top and although John Terry is having his every touch roundly booed, he is showing plenty of composure as the away side look to impose their game on QPR."
QPR defender Luke Young slipped as the away side countered and Juan Mata pounced, driving forwards towards the box before smashing a shot at Kenny in goal. The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper parries the ball before a defender puts it out for a Blues corner. Gradually this game is getting more lively and more interesting.
Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge has an effort from long range but his shot skews wide and high. Not the most eye-catching attempt but at least it's progress from the inaction we've seen at Loftus Road so far.
The crowd have arguably been more exciting than the actual match in the opening minutes. Chelsea have seen more of the ball but little has been done with it. This fixture was incredibly aggressive last time out though, and the caution shown from both sides is hardly a shock.
Branislav Ivanovic, who is playing at right-back for the Blues this afternoon, attempts to launch a couple of throw-ins over the hosts' defence from near the corner flag and into the box, but the Serbia international can't reach any Chelsea attackers.
Nothing spectacular to speak of yet. Fernando Torres was caught offside and QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny takes the free-kick.
Terry gets one or two early touches and is unsurprisingly booed loudly by the home fans. Rangers had the first attack but the ball tirckled out of the right for a goal-kick to the visitors.
Referee Mike Dean blows his whistle and QPR get the match underway.
DRAMA! There will be no handshakes at Loftus Road today, the FA have apparently decided the teams will not do their traditional lining up before kick-off. Well, that leaves us the important matter of a football match then. Both fans are in excellent voice. The game is seconds for starting.
Five (not so) frantic minutes until this fourth-round FA Cup clash begins. For every man and woman desperate to see the outcome of this match I bet there's another who just wants to see if Terry and Ferdinand will shake hands. Does anyone else remember the last Terry Handshake Fiasco? When Wayne Bridge of Manchester City gave the Blues man a steely stare and rejected the centre-back?
Some fun facts to pass the time as kick-off rapidly approaches: last campaign was the first time in 13 seasons that Chelsea failed to progress to the fifth-round of this grand old cup, with Everton denying them on penalties if memory serves me. QPR, on the other hand, are notoriously woeful in the FA Cup. Mark Hughes guided his new side to a 1-0 third-round replay victory against MK Dons to give the Rangers their first victory in the competition for 11 years! Hughes will need to give them their second if his side are the beat the club he used to play for.
Some more detail from the Rangers ground from Goal.com reporter Jay Jaffa: "So we're approaching kick off and the atmosphere has ramped up inside the stadium. The away support are in fine voice and Andre Villas-Boas has spent a brief couple of minutes signing autographs for the fans. Personally I'm a little disappointed Taye Taiwo hasn't made the squad. One of the last times I was at Loftus Road I witnessed another African left-back score a screamer. Pierre Wome of Fulham if you're asking."
Who do you see progressing to the next round today? Can Villas-Boas’ boys beat their London rivals in what will inevitably be a venomous atmosphere? Or will QPR get their second victory over the Blues this season? There’s always the possibility of a draw and a subsequent replay, don’t forget. Leave your thoughts and comments below. To avoid cheeky accusations of bias I’ll avoid predicting the score, but I do think it will be tough for the visitors at Loftus Road today.
The hype surrounding this game was inevitably centred on Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand and Chelsea captain John Terry. After last game between the two west London clubs earlier in the season – which QPR won 1-0 at Loftus Road – Terry was accused to have directed racist abuse at the ex-Sunderland centre-back. The England international strenuously denies the allegations but has been charged with using racist language and will face a first hearing next week. Hopefully there won’t be any more controversy today and we’ll just have a classic, feisty FA Cup encounter on our hands.
You'll be hearing bits and bobs from Goal.com's man at Loftus Road today, Jay Jaffa: "Welcome to Loftus Road for this FA Cup clash between QPR and Chelsea. The Chelsea and England captain John Terry has been the subject of much of the build up to this fixture and the chorus of boos that rang out as he just took to the pitch is evidence of the animosity the home fans feel towards him. The Chelsea support did drown out the boos within a minute or so and have clearly pinned their colours to the mast. This will be a feisty encounter, that much you can be sure."
Frank Lampard’s absence from the team is not a headline-grabber for a change, as the England international picked up a calf injury last weekend in their 0-0 draw with Norwich City. Fear not Lampard-lovers, the former West Ham United man could return for the Blues’ midweek Premier League match against Swansea City.
Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas makes a pair of changes in his starting line-up, with Jose Bosingwa dropping to the bench in place of Branislav Ivanovic at right-back and Florent Malouda coming in for Frank Lampard. Fernando Torres, who had pockets of positivity in their last match but faltered at the final hurdle, starts in attack flanked by Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata. John Terry notably keeps his place in the centre of defence with all eyes likely to be on how he plays at Loftus Road, while Gary Cahill makes his first bench as a Blues player since his signing from Bolton Wanderers earlier this transfer window.
QPR manager Mark Hughes makes just the solitary change from the team that beat Wigan Athletic 3-1 at Loftus Road last weekend: Tommy Smith replaces the injured DJ Campbell. Anton Ferdinand starts at the heart of defence, while in the centre of midfield Joey Barton will no doubt play the role of controversy magnet as always. Former Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips starts on the wing at Loftus Road, with Heidar Helguson hoping to add to his season tally of nine goals up front.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Meireles, Ramires, Malouda; Sturridge, Torres, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Cahill, Bosingwa, Romeu, Essien, Lukaku, Bertrand.
QPR: Kenny; Hill, Hall, Ferdinand, Young; Smith, Buzsaky, Barton, Wright-Phillips; Mackie, Helguson. Subs: Cerny, Orr, Derry, Hulse, Ephraim, Macheda, Onuoha.
Good morning or evening, depending on where you are and when you read this! This is the LIVE! commentary for QPR against Chelsea in the fourth-round of the FA Cup. The game kicks off at 12:00 GMT and I – Miles Chambers – will be bringing you all the pre-game and mid-match details you could wish for, including the starting line-ups which are coming right up.
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