Fenerbahce beat Chelsea; Deivid from zero to hero

Thursday, April 03 2008 @ 11:43 am UTC

Fenerbahce mounted a stunning comeback to shock Chelsea in Wednesday's first leg of their Champions League quarter-final in the intimidating Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in Istanbul as Brazilian midfielder of Turkish side Deivid went from zero to hero. Chelsea took the lead when Deivid diverted Florent Malouda's cross into his own net and Michael Essien also hit the bar in a one-sided first half.

But the Turkish side leveled when London-born Colin Kazim-Richards smashed home Mehmet Aurelio's pass. And Deivid made amends for his early error to win the game with a superb 30-yard strike into the top corner.

Chelsea had hit their rhythm in the first half. Their midfielders began imposing themselves on the game and putting some neat passes together, and it wasn't long before a precious away goal was forthcoming.

The hosts were stunned and Chelsea almost doubled their lead moments later when Michael Essien hit an absolute screamer that clipped the crossbar and went over.

Former Chelsea man Mateja Kezman was outnumbered and outmuscled up front, with Brazilian playmaker Alex de Souza and Deivid lacking the physical presence to stretch the play and their creative force being snuffed out on the most part.

But Fenerbahçe started the second half looking slightly cagey, with Chelsea having the better of the possession but no clear-cut chances to show for it. Fenerbahce coach Arthur Zico's crucial changes played an important role in the victory of Turkish side.

Credit must go to Zico for masterminding his side's recovery but Chelsea's first defeat in Europe adds fuel to the fire for those who doubt Avram Grant's ability in big games - and leaves the Blues boss with plenty to think about ahead of next Tuesday's second leg.

Teams of the caliber of Inter Milan, PSV Eindhoven and Sevilla have also come a cropper at the Sukru Saracoglu stadium this season but Chelsea's defeat was a huge surprise after the way they began the game.

As Fenerbahce's volatile fans crammed into the stadium hours before kick-off, whipping the atmosphere to fever pitch, it was easy to see why they were unbeaten in the last 11 home European matches.

In such a seething cauldron of noise, Grant needed Chelsea's stars to show their greater experience at this rarified level. Every touch by a Chelsea player was greeted with an ear-splitting barrage of whistles.

Zico hailed Deivid for making amends after the own goal and praised his team for overcoming a "hasty and nervous start." "In the second match if they win 1-0 they go through. But there is one truth. Chelsea has to come forward to beat us in London. This is an advantage for us because we also go looking for a goal."

His opposite number Grant was disappointed. "We played such good football we deserved to win 3 or 4-0. That would have been the normal result. Then one minute of sleeping and they are back in the game," Grant said.

"It is a fact that we lost but the most important thing is to be in the next round. We can do it. If we have this performance in the second leg it will be good. "We are at home and we need to win even though Fenerbahce are a good team. This is not the best result but it is not a bad result."

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