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Shevchenko saves Chelsea from disaster

Andriy Shevchenko scored an equalising goal which could salvage his Chelsea career as the Blues drew 1-1 with Rosenborg in the Champions League match at Stamford Bridge in London on Tuesday.

sports Updated: Sep 19, 2007 20:14 IST

Andriy Shevchenko scored an equalising goal which could salvage his Chelsea career as the Blues drew 1-1 with Rosenborg in the Champions League match at Stamford Bridge in London on Tuesday.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho bizarrely compared the under-performing Ukraine striker to a second-grade egg before the match, but Shevchenko left the Portuguese with just a little egg on his face as he rescued a point against the Norwegian champions.

The 31-year-old forward, a 30-million-pound (60-million-dollar, 43-million-euro) purchase from Italian giants AC Milan in May 2006, had been criticised for scoring only 14 goals in 52 Blues appearances.

But he repaid some of that fee with a face-saving goal against the visitors.

Finland centre-half Miika Koppinen flicked in a free kick cross in the 24th minute but Shevchenko equalised with a header 53 minutes in, his 56th Champions League goal in 90 appearances.

Chelsea hit the woodwork twice but a draw at home against the unfancied Norwegians could prove costly in a group featuring Germany's Schalke and Spain's Valencia.

Both sides are fifth in their respective leagues, but few had expected the Trondheim club to trouble the English Premier League side at their west London home.

"I'm very disappointed," said Mourinho.

"We had 20 chances and scored one goal, so to score today we need maybe 40 chances to score two goals.

"We did enough to win. I think we are not lucky.

"This is the kind of game you have to win. It's the kind of game that normally you win, when you play at home against a team that normally should be the weakest in the group.

"So it's not a good result.

"I'm not happy."

Rosenborg boss Knut Torum was thrilled with his side's performance.

"I'm very happy with the result and with the game," he said.

"We had to be compact. We stuck to the plan and we were successful. We of course got lucky to get the point. Chelsea had the chances.

"But it was heroic working and we got the point and the result because we believed in ourselves.

"It was a very good start to the Champions League for us."

Shevchenko and Salomon Kalou kept their places in Chelsea's attack as Didier Drogba and Claudio Pizarro were both still unfit, as was goalscoring midfielder Frank Lampard.

Chelsea had the better of the opening exchanges, though Rosenborg started in determined fashion. Kalou placed a 10th minute header onto the roof of the net after a good cross by Joe Cole.

Ghana midfielder Michael Essien was guilty of a woeful miss in the 12th minute. Shevchenko flicked the ball on, but, bearing down on goal, Essien blasted wide.

The Troillongan had captain Roar Strand to thank in the 18th minute when he cleared Florent Malouda's powerful shot off the line.

Chelsea's Claude Makelele then conceded a free kick wide on the right, which Marek Sapara whipped in to the near post. Koppinen got ahead of Blues captain John Terry to flick the ball past goalkeeper Petr Cech and stun the Chelsea fans in the under-capacity home crowd of 24,973.

The Blues had conceded in only three of their previous 11 Champions League home games. Shell-shocked, they took a few moments to regain their composure before setting out on the attack.

Joe Cole, Kalou, Shevchenko's and Malouda blasted shots wide before Rosenborg striker Yssouf Kone fired a 52nd-minute effort over the bar after the visitors's best move of the game.

And Shevchenko made the Troillongan pay dearly by equalising just a minute later.

Malouda burst down the left and put in an excellent cross for the Ukrainian, who outjumped Koppinen to cushion the ball past Rosenborg's Canada goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld.

As Shevchenko celebrated, a fuming Mourinho came racing off his bench to urge his players back for the re-start.

The Blues took note and Malouda found space enough to blast a 62nd-minute shot against the inside of the right post.

Shevchenko then burst forward and picked out Kalou in the penalty box, and the Ivory Coast stiker hit the post.

Despite a frenzied final 10 minutes, Chelsea could not find a way through and their bid to win the Champions League at last this season started on a flat note.

First Published: Sep 19, 2007 20:13 IST