Football: Desailly cannot see error of his ways

THE FEW fancied clubs in a poor field for the last-ever European Cup-Winners' Cup are making desperately hard work of it.

On Thursday, Lazio - having come through the first round only on away goals against Lausanne - again failed to win their home leg, Newcastle's conquerors Partizan Belgrade holding on in the Olympic Stadium for a goalless draw. Meanwhile Chelsea required a goal in the 93rd minute from their defender Marcel Desailly to avoid the ignominy of a home defeat by FC Copenhagen.

Earlier in the week, the holders' player-manager, Gianluca Vialli, was asked, rather presumptuously, if he would rather leave Lazio until the final. "If I could choose, I'd not even play them in the final," he answered, influenced perhaps by last weekend's 5-3 demolition of Inter in Milan. Vialli named Lazio and Partizan as the other clubs left that he respected most, but with the representatives of France and Germany already out, as well as Newcastle, he must have been struggling to find many others. Varteks, SV Reid, Limassol, Braga, Panionios; it is not exactly a pantheon of European football greats.

Not that Chelsea can afford to be patronising after scrambling two goals in four-and-a-half hours against Helsingborg and now Copenhagen. On Thursday, to be fair, they deserved better, as the official statistics of 29 shots on the Danish goal suggested; there is not a lot wrong with a performance that produces a shot every three minutes.

Three of them beat the former Liverpool reserve goalkeper, Michael Stensgaard, and hit a post, Gianfranco Zola's and Gustavo Poyet's efforts bouncing out before Desailly's spun the right way. That atoned for the earlier error that the Frenchman refused to acknowledge, even though it led directly to Bjarne Goldbaek scoring from Copenhagen's second and last chance of the game.

"I don't feel responsible for the goal," Desailly said. "The pass was good for Dennis, but he didn't control it." Welcome to English football, monsieur.

Presumably anyone in the France or Milan teams receiving a pass played across their own penalty area controls it nonchalantly with a single touch, however close an opponent may be. Desailly must have forgotten that it was an Englishman he was passing to; poor Dennis Wise allowed the ball to break free for Goldbaek, whose well-aimed shot threatened for a few glorious minutes to end Chelsea's unbeaten home record in European games.

Apart from the scoreline, the other disappointing feature of the night for Chelsea was the attendance of only 21,000, not many more than for the Helsingborg tie. Once again, thousands of season-ticket holders and other regulars clearly decided against shelling out full prices when the game was being shown on terrestrial television. It was all in sharp contrast to Wembley the previous night, when Arsenal's imaginative and generous pricing policy had helped draw a full house, with an atmosphere to match.

But then Chelsea would not be anybody's favourites to win a cup for public relations.

News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer was final surviving member of seminal punk band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice