Chelsea vs CFR Cluj Minute by Minute!


Join us from 19.30 as we find out if Chelsea can qualify for the UEFA Cup!

Buildup: Chelsea need a win to guarantee progress to the Champions League knockout phase. A draw would see them get knocked out if Bordeaux manage an away win at Roma. Please please please let this happen! Chelsea have just one win in five at home and are missing Frank Lampard. 

Here’s hoping for some JT tears this evening:

Please make this happen

Please make this happen


Chelsea: Cech, Cashley, Terry, Alex, Bosingwa, Kalou, Deco, Mikel, Ballack, J Cole, Anelka.

Subs: Cudicini, Ivanovic, Drogba, Bridge, Ferreira, Belletti, Stoch.

CFR Cluj: Claro, Pereira, Alcantara, Cadu, Panin, Muresan, Dani, Culio, Trica, Dubarbier,  Kone.

Subs: Hirschfeld, Peralta, Prette, Deac, De Souza, Emmanuel Kone, Ruiz.


Surprisingly, the match is sold out.  Usually Chelsea have to take out ads in the Evening Standard to shift Champions League group stage tickets. Must be the free scarves they’re giving everyone.

The studio guests are Andy “In my book that wasn’t a foul” Townsend and Dan Petrescu.

Apparently it is unthinkable that Chelsea could get knocked out tonight. I beg to differ. It would be great. Big Cup is the one they really want after all.

Big Phil clarifies that he was joking when he said that he would go back to Brazil if they fail to win. Journalists are stupid.

Peter Drury instead of Tyldesley. Result.


1 min: Cluj kick off.

2 mins: The Cluj keeper is making his Champions League debut. He collects a through ball from Ballack which sees Anelka offside.

3 mins: Mikel lashes a shot high and wide. He was probably trying to do this.

4 mins: Pleat tells us Cech and the ref are wearing the same colour jersey and this could be confusing. For who exactly? When have you ever seen the ref and the keeper be right next to each other in a passage of play?

7 mins: Pereira shoots from about 25 yards. A curling, bouncing pea roller away from Cech who palms it away from danger.

10 mins: A nice passage of play sees the ball break to Trica. He has a bit of space to shoot from outside the box but hits it as it rises. Unsurprisingly it goes over.

11 mins: Some nice play between Kalou and Deco sees the latter cross into the box. Ballack is lurking but the keeper claims it.

12 mins: A Cole is fouled. As in the left back.

13 mins: Alex heads at goal from a free kick but it’s bounces down and over.

14 mins: Some end to end action. The Cluj left winger twists past Bosingwa but the cross is behind the strikers and no one is making a late run into the box. Chelsea break and Kalou sets up Anelka whose shot is charged down.

15 mins: Alex challenges the keeper from another free kick but Claro claims it.

16 mins: A bright start from both teams, it’s a decent game thus far.

17 mins: Cluj win a corner. Taken short, Coolio Culio (great name) eventually crosses after twisting Bosingwa and Cole inside out and finding some space. Headed at goal by Alcantara but cleared off the line by Mikel. That was rather close.

Cluj's left winger, coming to a Premiership team near you.

Cluj's left winger, coming to a Premiership team near you.

20 mins: Terry is clearing things up well at the mo. Lots of headers out and some good calm play on the ground.

21 mins: Cluj are getting a lot of joy from crosses. Another from the left finds a Cluj midfielder outside the box but his attempt at a Van Basten volley goes somewhat wide. Claro then comes for a Chelsea cross but misses it. Comes to nothing though.

23 mins: A break in play as Panin is down. An opportunity to speculate on potential Pleatisms this evening. We have Jon Obi Mikel and Michael Ballack playing which could confuse him as well as Jose Bosingwa who I guarantee will be pronounced Bosswinger at some point.

26 mins: Chelsea’s best effort. Ballack gallops down the left and passes inside. It’s worked to Joe Cole but he shoots wide.

28 mins: As Alanis would say, Big Phil has one hand in his pocket (scratching Little Phil by the looks of things) and the other hand in the air.

29 mins: Kone tries an ambitious shot from an angle. Doesn’t succeed.

30 mins: Big Phil is up and telling everyone to calm down.

31 mins: A cross from the right by Chelsea is cleared for a corner. Ballack (or maybe Anelka) was about to head at goal. The corner comes to nothing.

33 mins: A Kalou shot deflects over. Chelsea corner. Deco takes but it is cleared at the near post.

35 mins: Ballack is starting to run things in midfield. He skips past someone and lays it wide to Cashley. He overdoes the cross and the attack breaks down. 

38 mins: Ballack does a Cruyff turn to break from defence but he catches Panin’s head as he comes into tackle. Panin stays down and is eventually treated but then gets up quick enough.

40 mins: GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Cluj! Trica is booked for a foul on Ballack. It’s a needless foul in the middle of the pitch which Ballack makes a meal of. Deco floats in the resulting free kick. As Terry goes down in the box, Kalou finds himself in acres of space to control and last the ball home. Lots of confusion amongst the Cluj defenders there meaning Kalou had all the time he wanted to put it away.

43 mins: Kalou nearly gets a second. A long ball sees a race between him and the keeper. Clara makes it first and clears.

44 mins: The goal sees Chelsea playing with much more confidence. Bosingwa crosses a low ball inbetween the keeper and defence and it is unconvicingly dealt with. They’re starting to carve Cluj open. It wouldn’t surprise me if they scored 2 or 3 more in the second half.

47 mins: Neat play as Chelsea try and close out the half. Pereira then tries a shot from around 30 yards but it is well off target. He had about five seconds to set himself. A close up shows he has the biggest eyebrows I have ever see.

Plucking hell, what big eyebrows he has.

Plucking hell, what big eyebrows he has.

Half time: Chelsea probably just about deserve their lead but Cluj have given them more than a few scares. The second half will be interesting.

Time for tea.

46 mins: Chelsea kick off the second half.

49 mins: A claim for handball against Panin. It’s ball to hand though so is waved away. Drogba gets some cheers as he warms up. Take note Arsenal fans.

50 mins: If Coolio Culio wants to play in the Premiership he has to work hard all the time. So says David Pleat. I will now intermintently name Premiership players who are lazy yet have a career. No 1. Abou Diaby.

52 mins:  Mikel goes in hard from behind on Dubarbier. Ooh er missus.

53 mins: Chelsea break three on two but Joe Cole is tackled just as reaches the box. No2. Emmanuel Eboue.

54 mins: Chelsea loiter with the ball around the box. Kalou works it out of his feet and passes to Anelka in the 6 yard box. Clara smothers very well.

55 mins: GOAL! Chelsea 1-1 Cluj! Cluj break down the right. Panin crosses into the box and Kone loses Alex and plants a great header past Cech into the roof of the net.

57 mins: Joe Cole has a great opportunity to equalise. He controls a Deco cross in to the box and shoots with his second touch. The keeper is quick to close and he saves. No 3. Dimitar Berbatov. 

58 mins: Big Phil looks distinctly unimpressed on the bench.

59 mins: Muresan blasts one over. Cue a substitution of Emmanuel Kone on for Dubarbier. Two Kones on the pitch means confusion for me, meltdown for Pleat.

Pleat can't handle Kone, Kone, Cole & Cole

Pleat can't handle Kone, Kone, Cole & Cole

63 mins: Bosingwa plants a low cross into the box but it goes straight to the keeper. A few seconds later he tries again but Cole gets it stuck under his feet. Meanwhile Roma take the lead v Bordeaux. Bordeaux now need two to knock Chelsea out as it stands. Hmm.

64 mins: Didier Drogbarrr (© John Motson) comes on for Kalou.

66 mins: Deco whips in a free kick at pace but the Cluj defence deals with it. No 4. Titus Bramble.

67 mins: Drogbarrr strays offside and fires a volley at the keeper. Good effort though. No 5. Mark Viduka.

68 mins: The last five minutes has seen most of the play in the Cluj half. Lots of balls whipped in at pace but nothing overly testing though.

71 mins: GOAL! Chelsea 2-1 Cluj! Wonderful goal by Didier Drogbarrr. Chelsea break from defence. Mikel works it to Cole on the egde of the box who dinks a chip to Drogba. One touch to control, one to poke it past the keeper. Great finish.

72 mins: Peralta on for Trica.

74 mins: Belletti on for Joe Cole. I’m always a bit baffled when they show the distance run stats when a player comes off. They have the individual one and a team average which is always lower. Could this be because the keeper doesn’t do any running so thus brings average right down.

76 mins: Belletti makes his mark by being booked for taking out Pereira.

79 mins: Roma now two up. Chelsea are through.

81 mins: Mikel dives in late on Dani and gets a booking.

82 mins: Belletti thinks about a long shot but decides against. Half a minute later he gets the ball again and drives in a low shot from 25 yards. Clara makes a good save. No 6. Elano.

85 mins: Clara makes a camera save from Ballack’s left foot shot. The second phase sees him rush out to try and claim the ball but Bosingwa beats him to it. He can’t pick out a Chelsea player though.

87 mins: Wayne Bridge comes on for Mikel. Deliberately disproving my theory, Mikel’s distance covered is less the team average. Maybe he was playing in goal?

88 mins: Bridge instantly shows how much better a crosser of the ball he is compared to Cashley. He finds Drogba whose flick doesn’t trouble anyone.

90 mins: Scrappy now as both teams can’t be bothered any more.

92 mins: Coolio Culio wins a corner. He takes it but it misses everybody. It eventually gets played back in and Cluj win a free kick. A late equaliser perhaps?

93 mins: No.

94 mins: Anelka tamely shoots straight at the keeper.

Full time: Chelsea 2-1 Cluj. A relatively comfortable win in the end, thanks in part to Roma being in control against Bordeaux. Cluj played well and caused many problems but Drogba’s class proved the difference. Chelsea will be disappointed not to have qualified for the UEFA Cup but I guess the Champions League second round is decent consolation. Barcelona will knock them out in the next round though.

The key to Chelsea winning the Big Cup

The key to Chelsea winning the Big Cup




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