Diarra thwarts Chelsea progress

Bordeaux 1 Chelsea 1

However easy Luiz Felipe Scolari made this Chelsea manager's job look when he took over at the club in the summer, it is not looking anywhere near as simple now. Frank Lampard was sent off last night, a lead was squandered and now qualification for the next round of the Champions League comes down to an awkward home game against CFR Cluj next month.

Chelsea, who are now without an away win in Europe for a year, need to win at Stamford Bridge against the Romanian champions on 9 December to be sure but the way the boat is rocking at the moment nothing is completely certain for Scolari's team. They took the lead through Nicolas Anelka last night but they were never totally in control and when Bordeaux's captain Alou Diarra headed the equaliser it was no surprise. What is hard to comprehend is how quickly the Chelsea project, undertaken with such brio by Scolari this season is starting to look ragged.

They are the only one of the four English sides in the Champions League who have not already shored up qualification and the incoherence on the pitch is starting to reflect the uncertainty off it. Didier Drogba unwisely sounded off before last night's game about his miserable six months, chief scout Frank Arnesen is on his way out the door because of Roman Abramovich's cutbacks at the club. It does not seem a coincidence that things are starting to look tricky on the pitch, too.

It is rare for a player with Lampard's cunning to find himself sent off for what amounted to two clumsy tackles and he will miss the Cluj game at Stamford Bridge. Scolari said it should be a formality for Chelsea but even this is not certain.

John Terry would have to admit that after his heroics for England one week earlier this was far from his best performance, in fact it was him who allowed Diarra to rise unchallenged to head the ball in at Petr Cech's near post with seven minutes to go. Joe Cole struggled to have an impact on the game and an ankle injury means he is 50-50 to play Arsenal on Sunday. The wing-back style of rampaging full-backs that Scolari made his trademark earlier in the season was easily nullified by Bordeaux.

The sixth-placed team in the French championship made Chelsea look pretty ordinary having been completely blown away by them in west London in September. Laurent Blanc's team were simply quicker in the tackle, more solid in midfield and were not afraid to mix it up when the situation required. The Chelsea of old — let's be honest, even the Chelsea of Avram Grant last season — would have ground Bordeaux's kids into the dust having taken a lead but they are not so solid this time around.

They are still yet to win away in the Champions League this season and at times last night they were kept in the game by Cech's saves. Drogba's arrival in the game, after the hour when Anelka came off, did not elicit any reaction from the travelling support.

It seemed incredible that the first-half possession count gave 56 per cent in Chelsea's favour because they did not manage a shot on target before the break and only two after it. By contrast, Mathieu Chalmé and Yoan Gourcuff forced excellent full-length saves from Cech in the first half and the frustration began to tell among the visitors' players as Terry, Lampard and Ashley Cole all went into the Belgian referee's book within the space of eight minutes.

This kind of frailty will do them no good against Arsenal who, for the first time in a while, can at least take heart that one of their nearest rivals is starting to look as flaky as them. Anelka's goal was made by Lampard's quick-thinking. He played the ball first time through a momentary gap in the Bordeaux defence and Anelka took his own sweet time as he bore down on Matthieu Valverde's goal. He beat the goalkeeper at his left-hand post as two Bordeaux defenders converged on him.

The goal was Anelka's 14th of the season and arguably his most important yet. Chelsea never quite settled. Terry was too easily beaten when Yoan Gouffran cut in from the right wing and, with the Chelsea captain on a yellow card, he was reluctant to commit himself to the tackle. After Diarra headed in from Fernando Cavenaghi's corner, Chelsea were struggling.

More pain followed when Lampard was late in the tackle once again on Fernando and was given a red card but only after the referee Frank de Bleeckere had taken a long time to work out he had booked him earlier. Michael Ballack scrambled away a late deflected shot as Chelsea left France chastened and probably wondering what Sunday might hold for them.

Bordeaux (4-2-3-1): Valverde; Chalmé, Diawara, Planus, Jurietti; Fernando, Diarra; Gouffran (Cavenaghi, 67), Gourcuff, Wendel (Obertan, 76); Chamakh. Substitutes not used: Olimpa (gk), Bellion, Placente, Traoré, Tremoulinas.

Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech; Bosingwa, Terry, Alex, A Cole; Mikel; Malouda, Lampard, Ballack, J Cole (Ferreira, 85); Anelka (Drogba, 63). Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Bridge, Kalou, Alex, Stoch.

Referee: F De Bleeckere (Belgium).

Group A

Results: Chelsea 4 Bordeaux 0, Roma 1 CFR Cluj 2; Bordeaux 1 Roma 3, CFR Cluj 0 Chelsea 0; Bordeaux 1 CFR Cluj 0, Chelsea 1 Roma 0; CFR Cluj 1 Bordeaux 2, Roma 3 Chelsea 1; Bordeaux 1 Chelsea 1; CFR Cluj 1 Roma 3.

Remaining fixtures: 9 Dec: Chelsea v CFR Cluj, Roma v Bordeaux.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home