Malouda completes Chelsea comeback

Chelsea 2 MSK Zilina 1

Chelsea fought back against MSK Zilina to preserve their 100 per cent record in the Champions League and ease the pressure on under-fire boss Carlo Ancelotti thanks to second-half goals from Daniel Sturridge and Florent Malouda.

Ancelotti's side had trailed to Babatounde Bello's shock 19th-minute opener for the Group F minnows but Sturridge levelled six minutes after the break.

Malouda then grabbed a vital winner for the Barclays Premier League champions when he slotted home at the far post four minutes from time to ensure Chelsea finish in top spot.

Zilina, battered by Marseille in their last Champions League outing, had arrived with an attacking mentality that gave Chelsea's youthful side something to worry about in the early stages.

Chelsea first threatened the visitors in the 17th minute when Gael Kakuta sent over a cross that almost dropped into the net at the far post.

But Chelsea hit trouble in the 19th minute when Bello sliced his way through the home defence and coolly slotted the ball home.

It was another shock to the Blues who have been left reeling in recent weeks by events both on and off the pitch.

The shock and abrupt departure of Ray Wilkins arrived in the middle of a domestic slump that has seen them lose three out of their last four Premier League games.

Ancelotti, who rejected rumours he was set to quit the Blues over the weekend, cut a lonely figure in contrast to the delirious Zilina bench.

Chelsea fought back when Kakuta put Sturridge in behind the defence but the former Manchester City striker saw his shot slash wide of the near post.

But Zilina almost added a second on the half-hour when Tomas Majtan got clear to test Ross Turnbull at the near post. The Chelsea keeper was lucky to claw the ball away from danger as Zilina continued to threaten.

Seconds later Sturridge forced Martin Dubravka into a fine save when he sent a 20-yard angled drive towards the top corner.

Malouda should have levelled the scores in the 35th minute but he sent a tame header into the arms of Dubravka from six yards.

Malouda then tried his luck from 25 yards but he failed to find the target.

Sturridge wasted another chance in the 39th minute when he somehow sent a six-yard shot over the bar, although Chelsea were at least beginning to exert some pressure.

Chelsea replaced Kakuta with Salomon Kalou at half-time and the Ivory Coast striker sent a shot just over the bar from 20 yards straight from the re-start.

Chelsea equalised in the 51st minute when Kalou's cross eluded everyone in the six-yard box apart from Sturridge at the far post, the striker slipping the ball through the legs of the Zilina keeper to make it 1-1.

Chelsea were now in the ascendancy and Ramires sent a 25-yard drive just past the post as the Blues increased the tempo.

Didier Drogba almost put Chelsea in front on the hour but his free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar by Dubravka and Branislav Ivanovic headed over from close range when the ball was played back into the area.

Chelsea were now dominating and pushed on in search of the winner.

In the 69th minute Sturridge curled a low shot around the post after Chelsea has superbly carved open the Zilina defence.

Patrick Van Aanholt was denied by the woodwork in the 71st minute when his thunderous 20-yard drive cannoned back off the left-hand upright.

Midfielder Josh McEachran, who had been sublime all night with a range of delightful passes, put Drogba clear in the 75th minute but the striker fired high over the bar.

But Chelsea ensured they maintained their 100 per cent record in Europe when Malouda slotted home at the far post after Drogba had headed substitute Nicolas Anelka's cross into his path.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

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

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
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
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

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