Saturday 23 September 2017

Di Matteo fully focused on final frontier as Blues stroll

CHELSEA 2
BLACKBURN 1

Nick Szczepanik

Chelsea celebrated after the final whistle yesterday by parading the FA Cup around Stamford Bridge, which summed up the lack of relevance of the previous 90 minutes. The only interest in a low-key victory was what it said about a slightly bigger occasion in Bavaria next Saturday.

For Roberto di Matteo, naming yesterday's team was a way of telling certain players that they would not be playing a key part in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

So, Romelu Lukaku, Ryan Bertrand and Sam Hutchinson started, alongside the quartet suspended for the match in Munich, while Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba were among the substitutes and Frank Lampard and Petr Cech were not even put at risk of splinters from the bench.

John Terry headed Chelsea ahead on the half-hour and Raul Meireles made it 2-0 from 20 yards four minutes later. Yakubu halved the deficit in a second half in which the levels of commitment matched what you would expect in a relaxed testimonial match.

KAGAWA STARS AS FERGIE WATCHES

Borussia Dortmund completed their first league and cup double with a comprehensive 5-2 victory over Bayern Munich in the German Cup final.

Having recently secured the Bundesliga for the second successive year, Dortmund asserted their domestic dominance over Bayern, with Robert Lewandowski scoring a hat-trick, to finish on 30 goals for the season.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was a notable spectator. United have been linked with Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa, and the Japan star didn't disappoint, scoring the opener inside three minutes.

Bayern hit back through an Arjen Robben penalty but Dortmund dominated after that, with Lewandowski completing his hat-trick on 80 minutes, capitalising on a mistake by Manuel Neuer.

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo headed home Real Madrid's opener on 19 minutes in their 4-1 win over Real Mallorca as they became the first team in La Liga history to reach 100 points.

Barcelona ended the La Liga season by salvaging a 2-2 draw at Real Betis, with Seydou Keita's injury-time goal ensuring that Pep Guardiola's last league game in charge wasn't marked by a defeat.

In Italy, league winners Juventus beat Atalanta 3-1 to become the third team to complete a Serie A season unbeaten after Perugia (1978-79), and Milan (1991-92), conceding only 20 goals all season.

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