Lampard off as Chelsea waste chance to qualify

Bordeaux 1 Chelsea 1
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The Independent Football

Chelsea squandered the chance to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League with another dreadful European away performance against Bordeaux.

Alou Diarra's 82nd-minute equaliser forced 10-man Chelsea to put their qualification celebrations on hold and leaves them needing a win against Cluj in the final round to ensure a place in the next phase.

Nicolas Anelka's 60th-minute strike, his 14th of the season, looked set to give Chelsea their first away win in Europe this season.

But Diarra rose unmarked to head home a shock leveller eight minutes from time and give coach Luiz Felipe Scolari more food for thought. To make matters worse, midfielder Frank Lampard was sent off for a second bookable offence in the closing stages.

It was an extremely poor performance from Scolari's side who had goalkeeper Petr Cech to thank for keeping them in the game in the first half.

Bordeaux, flattened 4-0 at Stamford Bridge, appeared determined to avenge the mauling and Fernando Menegazzo brought a super save from Cech as early as the fifth minute.

The Czech Republic keeper had to be a full stretch to turn the Bordeaux midfielder's long-range drive around the post.

Three minutes later Cech had to rush out to the edge of his area to take the ball off the feet of the advancing Yoan Gouffran as Bordeaux set about their task with enthusiasm.

Chelsea's European form away from home had seen them draw with Cluj and lose to Roma and in the 18th minute Chelsea had Cech to thank again.

This time Matthieu Chalme got the better Florent Malouda and unleashed an angled drive which the Chelsea keeper had to punch away.

Chelsea lacked a cutting edge and Anelka was often an isolated figure in attack with Joe Cole and Malouda somewhat ineffective as wingers.

Michael Ballack, starting his first game since surgery on both feet, looked well below the required fitness level in midfield and the Blues were desperately missing the playmaking talents of the suspended Deco.

The English side had yet to trouble Matthieu Valverde in the Bordeaux goal while Cech was called upon yet again in the 27th minute.

Again it was the lively Gourcuff who caused Chelsea problems and when he tried his luck from 25 yards, Cech was forced to dive to his left to claw the ball to safety.

Bordeaux were stretching Chelsea in every department but the visitors, thanks entirely to Cech's agility, remained on level terms.

There was little invention about Chelsea's play and the home side could sense the growing frustration among their opponents.

Before the game Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc had called for his team to match Chelsea 'man-for-man' and they had done him proud in the opening 45 minutes.

Chelsea were just as lethargic at the start of the second half and appeared incapable of raising their tempo.

Had Bordeaux been a little more adventurous in attack then they may have grabbed the goal their endeavours certainly deserved.

But against the run of play, Chelsea broke the deadlock on the hour with their first shot on target of the entire game.

Even then Anelka's goal had a massive element of luck about it. Diarra's attempted cross-field pass was cut-out by the retreating Lampard but his clearance put Anelka in the clear.

The in-form striker took his time as Valverde rushed to meet him and Anelka coolly clipped the ball beyond him for his 14th of the season.

But it was his last contribution to the action as Anelka was replaced by Didier Drogba two minutes later.

In the 63rd minute, with Chelsea enjoying their best spell of the game, Lampard sent a free-kick over the crossbar.

Chelsea, clearly inspired by the goal, were beginning to spray the ball around with confidence for the first time.

But when Joe Cole needlessly slammed the ball into the net after being flagged offside in the 68th minute, he was booked for time-wasting.

Lampard, who had been kept quiet for much of the game, forced a fine save from Valverde in the 77th minute with a trademark 25-yard shot.

Lampard almost added a second in the 77th minute but his long-range shot was kept out by Valverde.

But Bordeaux captain Diarra stunned Chelsea when he headed the French side level in the 82nd minute.

England midfielder Lampard was then sent off for a second bookable offence as Chelsea's night ended on a sour note.