Villas-Boas slams ref after Blues implosion
QPR 1 CHELSEA 0
Chelsea never lose quietly, and so it was yesterday. Reduced to nine men before half-time at Loftus Road, and trailing to a 10th-minute penalty, they did everything but salvage a point in a tempestuous second half in this west London derby.
Nor did the final whistle halt their defiance. Having seen his team rack up seven yellow cards in addition to the reds received by Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba, manager Andre Villas-Boas confronted referee Chris Foy in the tunnel and, by his own description, "aggressively" told the official what was wrong with his performance.
The Chelsea manager then accused Foy of being swayed by the home support in this cockpit of a stadium claiming the occasion was "too big" for the referee. While Villas-Boas stopped short of saying there was a conspiracy against his team, he said they had been on the wrong end of decisions three times in the last six matches.
"We were the better team with nine men," said Villas-Boas. "In a normal day with a referee with good judgement towards both teams we win the game. He was card-happy towards the team. I am not happy with the difference of treatment. The officials were led by the emotion of the crowd and applied uneven decision making."
Neil Warnock, unsurprisingly, saw things differently. "When you get beat like that it is easy to blame the ref instead of looking at your own mistakes. I used to do that. Chris Foy has made far fewer mistakes than either side today."
Warnock added pertinently, given the way Chelsea's self-discipline broke down as the game wore on: "The top clubs are not used to having their feathers ruffled, but they have no divine right to beat you."
The sound and fury that accompanied this match was a product of recent history. It was 15 years since these clubs had met, and back then the match-winner was Chelsea's Paul Furlong.
A decade later, Furlong, in his late 30s, was playing for QPR in the third tier while Chelsea were making themselves a power in Europe.
It has been a long haul back for Rangers and the home support were both relishing and fearing this meeting. So limited are Rangers' resources, despite the deadline day investment of Tony Fernandes, that Warnock had to recall Clint Hill from a loan at Nottingham Forest to play.
In a 14-year career, Hill had played only one previous top-flight match, on the opening day of this season when he was sent off as Rangers lost 4-0 at home to Bolton.
Looking at the respective team-sheets, it seemed QPR's only chance was if Chelsea imploded or Rangers had the benefit of the doubt when it came to the officiating. In the event both happened.
An inconsequential start came to life 10 minutes in when Helguson chased a high ball into the Chelsea box, bumping David Luiz in the process. Luiz bumped him back rather harder and Helguson crumpled. He got up to convert the penalty, only Rangers' seventh goal of the season. For the next 24 minutes Chelsea had huge amounts of possession, but did little with it. Then Adel Taarabt came to life releasing Shaun Wright-Phillips. As the little striker sped away, Bosingwa leant into him and tugged his shorts.
Both fell and, though Wright-Phillips was up first, Foy stopped play and, to Chelsea's horror, showed Bosingwa a red card. Eight minutes later, Chelsea were down to nine. Drogba lost the ball in midfield and trying to recover it, lunged into Taarabt.
Chelsea, driven on by a sense of injustice and their own fierce will to win, opened the second period with a wave of attacks which put QPR on the back foot. There were a series of penalty appeals. One, when Fitz Hall tugged Frank Lampard, should have been given but, so eagerly were Chelsea diving to the floor, Foy may have decided to ignore all claims.
There were near misses at both ends but only one clear-cut chance, Nicolas Anelka meeting Branislav Ivanovic's cross with 10 minutes to go only to head the ball straight at Paddy Kenny. It had been 16 years since QPR last won this derby, and it was Chelsea's first defeat to a newly promoted team in 64 games stretching back a decade. (© Independent News Service)