Cole edges Chelsea past Stoke

Ashley Cole spared the blushes of Chelsea's £130million attack with the late goal that earned his side a 1-0 win over Stoke at Stamford Bridge.

Last Updated: 22/09/12 at 18:00 Post Comment

Cole: Celebrates with Ivanovic

Cole: Celebrates with Ivanovic

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Roman Abramovich looked on as the Blues unleashed the £80m trio of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata for the first time behind £50m man Fernando Torres.

But the quartet were nowhere near being the 'Barcelona in blue shirts' the club's billionaire owner craves until the 85th minute, when Cole finished a brilliant move to snatch a barely-deserved win.

It could easily have been a fourth straight match without a victory for Chelsea as Torres flopped once again and Jonathan Walters hit the crossbar for Stoke, who arguably had the better of the chances.

That would have cranked up the pressure on Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo, who shrugged off Thursday's visit of Abramovich to the club's training ground the morning after the club's opening Champions League game against Juventus.

After his gamble at picking Oscar in that 2-2 draw paid off spectacularly, Di Matteo was emboldened enough to leave out both John Terry and Frank Lampard.

But despite Chelsea enjoying more of the ball, Torres, Hazard, Oscar and Mata played like the strangers they were for most of the afternoon.

Torres did nod a Mata corner over the top but, otherwise, the Champions League winners were guilty of taking too many touches, making one pass too many and allowing Stoke to smother.

The visitors should have made them pay in the 20th minute when an unmarked Walters thumped a header from Glenn Whelan's free-kick against the crossbar.

Branislav Ivanovic was lucky to avoid a yellow card for a shameful dive in the box but no referee could have failed to book Charlie Adam for rugby-tackling Ramires.

Torres is rarely upstaged when it comes to embarrassing moments and he duly added another to his collection with an air-shot after Mata's wonderful dink put him one-on-one with Asmir Begovic.

At the other end, Michael Kightly almost redirected Geoff Cameron's fizzing cross past Petr Cech, while Chelsea's half was summed up when David Luiz smashed a wild shot high into the Shed End.

The home side were not exactly booed off at the break but a flat atmosphere certainly greeted them after the restart.

That changed when Chelsea were denied the latest in a catalogue of recent penalty claims when Oscar went down under Ryan Shawcross' challenge.

It may not have been a spot-kick but did not deserve the acting award that followed - a booking.

That sparked Chelsea and Oscar to life and the Brazilian tested Begovic with a low shot before Mata blazed wide following a defensive mix-up.

Stoke settled and Peter Crouch, Walters and Adam all had sighters before Di Matteo withdrew Hazard for Victor Moses just past the hour mark.

The Potters responded by sending on Michael Owen for Adam but Chelsea almost cut them open when Mata was thwarted by a brilliant Shawcross tackle.

Oscar was becoming more and more of a threat and his deflected grass-cutter was well saved by Begovic before he sent another mid-range shot narrowly wide.

Matthew Etherington replaced Kightly and Kenwyne Jones came on for Crouch as Stoke sensed more than a draw.

Etherington dragged wide after John Obi Mikel, of all people, should have done better than squander what was a fine pass by Torres.

Mikel departed for Lampard for the final nine minutes and, four minutes later, Chelsea finally had the breakthrough.

It was the first piece of Barcelona-esque football of the entire afternoon as some lovely build-up ended when Mata's delightful back-heel found Cole, who lifted the ball beyond Begovic.

A brilliant last-ditch Etherington tackle prevented Moses having a chance to make it 2-0 on the break.

Terry came on for Mata and a late Luiz tackle on Walters ensured the game ended with some bad blood between the sides, with Etherington also involved in a minor altercation with Ivanovic before the final whistle.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Sunday, 22 February 2015
16:15
So'ton 0-2 Liverpool  
14:05
Everton 2-2 Leicester Report
12:00
Tottenham 2-2 West Ham Report
Saturday, 21 February 2015
17:30
Man City 5-0 Newcastle  
15:00
A Villa 1-2 Stoke Report
Chelsea 1-1 Burnley Report
C Palace 1-2 Arsenal Report
Hull City 2-1 QPR Report
S'land 0-0 W Brom  
Swansea 2-1 Man Utd Report

Footer 365

Liverpool lose to Besiktas 5-4 on penalties after Turkish side win round-of-32 second leg 1-0

Liverpool crashed out of the Europa League as Dejan Lovren missed the decisive penalty in a 5-4 shoot-out defeat by Besiktas.

Oldham 'would welcome Scholes'

Stand-in boss Dean Holden insists he would not be surprised if Oldham managed to lure Paul Scholes into management.

Chelsea announce huge shirt sponsorship deal with Yokohama Rubber

Chelsea have announced a new shirt sponsorship with Yokohama Rubber, reportedly worth £40m-a- year.

Mail Box

Greatest Spaniards And Arsenal Laughs

There's more debate on the greatest Spaniards in the afternoon mailbox, plus plenty more reaction to Arsenal's Champions League defeat.

Arsenal Mess It Up, As Inevitable As Ever

Unsurprisingly, there's a great deal of fall out after Arsenal's latest shambles against Monaco. Plus how Football365 went too early with the phrase 'peak Arsenal'...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company