Zhirkov scores as Chelsea downs Milan 2-1

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/z/zhirkov.jpg' class='caption'> New signing Yuri Zhirkov scored the winning goal as Chelsea beat AC Milan 2-1 in a preseason friendly on Friday.

Updated: July 25, 2009 09:39 IST
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New signing Yuri Zhirkov scored the winning goal as Chelsea beat AC Milan 2-1 in a preseason friendly on Friday.

It was a satisfying victory for new Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti against the team he managed for nine seasons before decamping to the Premier League.

"It was a difficult game because Milan played so well," said Ancelotti, who quit as manager of the Italian club in May and signed a three-year contract with Chelsea. "I'm happy for the victory, but we have to improve."

Ancelotti won two Champions League titles and one Serie A championship with Milan. During that time he coached his successor as Milan manger, the Brazilian Leonardo.

"I lost my voice. I'm not used to being a coach," Leonardo said. "To play against Carlo is very, very special. We're still good friends. That's why it was very special on Saturday, this match between two of the best teams in the world."

With the score 1-1, Milan goalkeeper Zeljko Kalanc stopped two close-range shots before Zhirkov's low drive from 19 yards found a corner of the net. The Russian left winger is a new arrival at Stamford Bridge, signing from CSKA Moscow.

Milan had two excellent chances to equalize in stoppage time, but Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech tipped away one attempt before another shot went wide.

Didier Drogba gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute, sending a rising shot past Kalac.

Milan missed a chance to draw even in the 19th minute, when Andrea Pirlo fired a shot that was deflected by Cech to Ronaldinho, who was denied on a bicycle kick.

But the Italian team drew even in the 38th minute through Clarence Seedorf. The veteran Dutch midfielder left the game in the second half with a leg injury.

The game was part of the World Football Challenge. Chelsea has also beaten Inter Milan but lost to Mexico's America.

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