Cole gives Chelsea 1-0 win over Liverpool

Chelsea's scoreless streak against Liverpool in the Champions League is over.

updated: April 27, 2007 16:25 IST
  • Total Shares


Chelsea's scoreless streak against Liverpool in the Champions League is over.

Joe Cole finally gave the Blues a goal to celebrate Wednesday, knocking in a cross from Didier Drogba to give Chelsea a 1-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.

Chelsea, which is trying to win four major trophies this season, now has the edge heading into Tuesday's second leg at Anfield.

"When the game starts in Liverpool, Chelsea is winning 1-0," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "(Liverpool) are a strong side at home. They have that historical advantage of success in the Champions League over decades."

Liverpool has won five European Cup titles, the last in 2005 after beating Chelsea in the semifinals.

But this season, Chelsea already has won the English League Cup and trails Manchester United by only three points in the Premier League, with a game against the leaders at Stamford Bridge on May 9 still to come.

Man United, which beat AC Milan 3-2 in Tuesday's other Champions League semifinal, will face Chelsea in the English FA Cup final on May 19. They could then meet again in the Champions League final on May 23 in Athens, Greece.

Ricardo Carvalho started Chelsea's scoring sequence in the 29th minute on Wednesday, collecting the ball in his own half and passing to Drogba on the right. The Ivory Coast striker raced forward and shook off Daniel Agger before rolling the ball across the area for Cole to poke in.

"It's difficult when Drogba goes against the defenders and the referee doesn't say anything," Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said. "He's really strong and it was really difficult for all the defenders."

The goal was Chelsea's first against Liverpool in the Champions League. Last year in the group stage, the teams played to a pair of 0-0 draws. The year before in the semifinals, they played to another 0-0 draw in the first leg, and Liverpool then won 1-0 in the second.

"It's the first time we've scored against them in Europe and maybe it'll open the floodgates," Cole said.

In January, Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield in the Premier League.

"I have confidence because I saw we can score and beat them and this is, for me, the most important thing for me thinking about the second leg," Benitez said. "We won 2-0 and I think that is a good message for my players."

Cole's goal was only his second for Chelsea this season. The attacking midfielder, who returned earlier this month after a four-week absence because of a broken foot, also scored in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Blackburn in the League Cup in October.

Frank Lampard had a chance to give Chelsea the lead in the eighth minute, but Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina made a good save. A minute later, Andriy Shevchenko curled a shot over the bar.

"The first half I think we were not playing well," Benitez said. "We were giving the ball away easily and they were playing counterattack. The second half, we had the target man and we could play with him. We could support him and we had more control of the game."

Dirk Kuyt had Liverpool's best chance in the first half with a 22nd-minute header that was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. Kuyt had another header in the 50th.

Steven Gerrard then sent a hard shot on Chelsea's goal in the 53rd. John Arne Riise's long throw-in into the area from the left was headed away by John Obi Mikel, but Gerrard got the ball and Cech made the save.

Lampard had another chance in the 81st, but his hard shot from the left was saved by Reina.

Both teams had one last good chance in injury time. Agger first sent a shot from distance that Cech saved, and Drogba headed wide a minute later from Lampard's cross.

Mourinho complained about a penalty that wasn't awarded in the 50th for a handball on Alvaro Arbeloa, although television replays indicated he was outside the area.

"I don't understand why we don't have penalties when they are so clear," Mourinho said. "I don't think anybody can say it was not a penalty. It's happening and happening and happening."

In 2005, Luis Garcia's disputed goal at Anfield put Liverpool into the final.

"I hope after the second leg we are not crying again about a big decision, like two years ago," Mourinho said. "I hope we do enough not to look back."

Man United got two goals from Wayne Rooney and another from Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday at Old Trafford. Kaka scored both goals for Milan, a six-time European Cup champion.

The second leg is next Wednesday at the San Siro.