Wasteful Chelsea reach quarter-finals despite stalemate

Chelsea 0 FC Copenhagen 0 (Chelsea win 2-0 on aggregate)

Chelsea sealed their place in the Champions League quarter-finals tonight but the cream of Europe will hardly be trembling after watching them waste a glut of chances to kill off FC Copenhagen.

With the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and even Shakhtar Donetsk sending out real messages of intent in their last-16 ties, this evening was the ideal time for Carlo Ancelotti's men to do the same against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.

Instead, they contrived to fluff at least a dozen straightforward finishes in their second leg at Stamford Bridge, allowing Copenhagen to salvage some pride after their comprehensive first-leg defeat.

Nicolas Anelka, who had been so deadly at the Parken Stadium, was the culprit-in-chief tonight but the Frenchman was barely more guilty than several of his team-mates.

Chelsea simply cannot afford to squander the kind of chances they missed tonight if they are to make it through the quarter-finals, regardless of who they draw on Friday.

How Fernando Torres would have loved to have started up front in what appeared an ideal game in which to end his goal drought, but manager Carlo Ancelotti decided it was better for the Spaniard to play a substitute role only ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City.

The tone for Chelsea's wasteful evening was set as early as the third minute when Frank Lampard sent Ashley Cole's cross wide from no more than four yards.

Cole himself then shot straight into the sidenetting when he should have cut the ball back, Yury Zhirkov flashed wide after a lovely Didier Drogba backheel teed up a Cole cross, and Anelka's poked finish was thwarted by Johan Wiland after Ramires' brilliant cross-field ball set up a quick break.

Although they could have been 4-0 down inside the opening quarter, Copenhagen were infinitely more sprightly this evening than they had been in the first leg, before which they had not played a competitive match for three months.

Kitted out in what could only be described as hot pink jerseys, they almost made Chelsea pay for their wastefulness in the 26th minute.

John Terry, who could be forgiven for being distracted by the England captaincy farce, brought down Dame N'Doye 20 yards out and, despite being so close to goal, the Senegal striker managed to crash a brilliant free-kick against the post.

Zhirkov fluffed another close-range finish from Anelka's cutback, Drogba shanked a cross with team-mates queueing up to score and also sent more than one curling shot too close to Wiland before half-time.

Chelsea's finishing failed to improve after the restart, Drogba volleying Jose Bosingwa's whipped ball wide from six yards, John Obi Mikel nodding against the crossbar from no more than two yards and Anelka twice hesitating when clean through and allowing Copenhagen's defence to recover.

Drogba was booked for taking out his frustration on Martin Vingaard, which was Torres' cue to begin warming up on the touchline.

Ramires then made a mess of an improvised finish from Drogba's cutback before Torres was beaten to the field by Copenhagen striker Kenneth Zohore, who replaced Pierre Bengtsson.

The change had the desired effect for the visitors, with N'Doye shooting wide under good pressure from Bosingwa.

Claudemir was booked for hauling back Ramires before Torres finally made his entrance midway through the half in place of a nonplussed Anelka who was withdrawn.

A wicked deflection almost helped Torres make an instant impact and he also sent a low finish straight at Wiland after Copenhagen lost Vingaard to injury.

The midfielder was replaced by Cesar Santin, with Chelsea withdrawing Zhirkov for Florent Malouda.

N'Doye blazed another good chance over on the break as Copenhagen went for broke but they overstepped the mark when Christian Bolanos was booked for diving.

Michael Essien was thrown on for Mikel with six minutes remaining.

Torres was being urged to "shoot" by the crowd every time he got within range.

The striker's team-mates did their best to tee him up but to no avail.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence