Wycombe, Chelsea draw 1-1

Updated: 22 March 2007 06:37 IST

A 77th-minute goal from Jermaine Easter salvaged a 1-1 draw for League Two side Wycombe against Chelsea in a first-leg semifinal of the English League Cup.

Wycombe, Chelsea draw 1-1

Wycombe, England:

A 77th-minute goal from Jermaine Easter salvaged a 1-1 draw for League Two side Wycombe against Chelsea in a first-leg semifinal of the English League Cup on Wednesday. Wayne Bridge - playing winger instead of fullback due to squad injuries - beat Ricardo Batista to a long ball from Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou just outside the area in the 36th minute before chipping it past the Portuguese goalkeeper to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. "We are in a good position to reach the final," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "We have to decide things at home, so if you look at it as a cup semifinal - there are no teams from different divisions and every team is from the same competition - I think it's a good result away from home." The return leg will be at Stamford Bridge on January 23. Entering the game without injured captain John Terry, goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini, defenders Khalid Boulahrouz and Ricardo Carvalho, and forwards Joe Cole and Arjen Robben, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho started midfielder Michael Essien at center back and Bridge on the wing. Mourinho also rested strikers Didier Drogba - English soccer's leading goalscorer with 20 goals in all competitions - and Andriy Shevchenko, while midfielder Frank Lampard came off the bench in the 67th. Wycombe matched its best result in a domestic cup competition - a 2001 FA Cup semifinals loss to eventual champion Liverpool - just by facing the 2005 champ. Wycombe creates first chance Chelsea arrived at Adams Park boasting a squad worth 235 million pounds but watched as a Wycombe side worth 80,000 pounds created the first chance. Midfielder Kevin Betsy chested down a Matt Bloomfield flick-on to the right of the penalty area in the 19th, but goalkeeper Hilario's arm caught a piece of his shot to send the ball over the goal. Defender Tommy Doherty cleared a shot from Bridge off the line from 12 meters in the 32nd after Essien headed it back to the winger. Four minutes later, Bridge beat Batista to the Kalou long ball, with the head-on-head collision resulting in both players receiving medical attention. The game was delayed for five minutes. Wycombe had the first chance of the second half, as Matt Bloomfield cut through the middle of the Chelsea defense to collect a through ball from Tommy Mooney in the 51st, but the midfielder struck wide. Easter raced on to a Mooney header inside the right side of the area before deftly rolling it past goalkeeper Hilario inside the far post in the 77th for his competition-leading sixth goal. "(It was) awesome, a great result. It's going to be a good match when we go there," Easter said. "It was disappointing to concede a goal because in the first 30 minutes we were the better team." Wycombe had all the momentum through the final minutes, with midfielder Stefan Oakes sending a strike from the edge of the area just over the bar. "I think anything is possible in football," said Wycombe manager Paul Lambert of his side's chances of winning at Chelsea. Arsenal will face north London rival Tottenham at White Hart Lane for the other first-leg semifinal on January 24, with the return leg set for Emirates Stadium on January 31. The final is at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on February 25.

Topics : Football Wycombe Wanderers
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