Frustration gets the better of Chelsea

 

Fulham 1 Chelsea 0:  Luis Boa Morte stunned Jose Mourinho and sent Chelsea spinning to their only third defeat of the season. Boa Morte’s first-half goal took the points from the champions on a day when Mourinho tried to quash speculation surrounding his future.

The Blues finished with 10-men when William Gallas was sent off for a nasty tackle on Heidar Helguson. And they were caught up in controversy when Didier Drogba handled the ball in an attempt to claim an equaliser.

The Chelsea striker celebrated the goal as if nothing had happened but an eagle-eyed linesman spotted the infringement and referee Mike Dean ruled it out.

Fulham fans invaded the pitch and celebrated as if they had won the title. But they have probably secured their top-flight survival with their first Premiership win over their neighbours.

Mourinho insisted before kick-off he was not about to walk out of Stamford Bridge, despite reports that he was preparing to join Inter Milan. The Chelsea boss, who has not uttered a public word since losing to Barcelona, spoke up in a bid to quash the rumours.

He said: "There is no way I will be at Inter Milan next season. I promise you I will be the Chelsea manager. I have a contract with Chelsea until 2010 and I fully intend to see that out."

If Mourinho was annoyed by the speculation, his mood could not have improved as he watched his team’s sloppy opening against Chris Coleman’s spirited Fulham.

Mourinho, fuming on the touchline, hauled off Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips midway through the first half and then replaced Robert Huth with Ricardo Carvalho at half-time.

It certainly was not the ruthless blue machine who have swept all before them on the domestic front this season. Fulham deserve great credit for approaching the game positively and Zat Knight
was immense at the back.

The home fans were cheering 17 minutes in when Boa Morte scored. He attacked down the left and cut a pass inside to Malbranque. His shot from 20-yards was blocked by Terry but it spun towards goal. Paulo Ferreira tried to clear but smacked the ball at Boa Morte and into the net.

Controversy erupted in the 58th minute when Dean ruled out a Drogba goal for handball. The referee appeared to give the goal at first as Drogba seized on confusion between goalkeeper Mark Crossley and Knight to take the ball round the pair and roll it into an empty net.

The Chelsea team celebrated and returned to their own half for the restart - but Boa Morte led the Fulham team in protest. They persuaded Dean to speak to his linesman and, after an in-depth discussion, the referee awarded Fulham a free-kick for handball.

Television replays suggested his final decision was correct. Drogba clearly used his right hand to tip the ball past the Fulham keeper before tapping it into the net and claiming a goal.

PA