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Wednesday, 11 September, 2002, 20:57 GMT 21:57 UK
Zola double sinks Rovers
David Dunn scores an 18th-minute penalty again Chelsea
Dunn gave Blackburn the opener from the spot
Blackburn Rovers 2-3 Chelsea

Gianfranco Zola was the hero for Chelsea at Ewood Park with two second-half goals to give his side a late win against Blackburn.

The visitors were always chasing the game and twice had to come from behind.


He is 'Gianfranco the Younger'. He has a mentality, a passion and a heart for the game
Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri

First, Jesper Gronkjaer equalised after David Dunn's 18th-minute penalty before Zola cancelled out David Thompson's strike early in the second-half.

Chelsea began sluggishly but their momentum built as the game went on and Zola struck again on 79 minutes with a delightful curling right-footed shot to snatch the win.

  Key incidents:
18 mins: Rovers' David Dunn scores from the penalty spot
38 mins: Jesper Gronkjaer equalises for Chelsea
45 mins: David Thompson restores Blackburn's lead
52 mins: Gianfranco Zola scores for Chelsea
80 mins: Zola strikes again for Chelsea

In an enterprising opening the home side threatened Chelsea's goal on a number of occasions, rattling Claudio Ranieri's side.

Blackburn pair Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole both saw shots fly over the bar, while Thompson, on his home debut, worried Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini with a hard-hit low drive.

And their endeavour was rewarded when Blackburn went in front on 18 minutes after Chelsea defender Celestine Babayaro dived in on Lucas Neill.

The referee instantly pointed to the spot and Dunn helped himself.

Chelsea levelled proceedings on 38 minutes through Gronkjaer, who latched on to a lay-off from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink off Mario Stanic's cross.

The visitors upped the tempo and Frank Lampard went close with a free header from a cross by Zola.

But it was Blackburn's Thompson who delighted the home fans when he fired Cole's cross from the right past a despairing Cudicini to restore the lead at the break.

Blackburn's Dwight Yorke (left) clashes with Chelsea's Marcel Desailly
Yorke (left) clashes with Desailly

However, Chelsea's momentum, which had been gathering at the end of the first period, continued to pick up speed.

And it finally bore fruit when Zola headed home Stanic's cross on 52 minutes.

Chelsea continued to press and in the face of Zola's mastery, Blackburn were unable to hang on.


The second goal was like Fred Karno's circus
Blackburn manager Graeme Souness

The diminutive Italian bent a shot from the left channel around Brad Friedel after good work from Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Rovers' Keith Gillespie made Cudicini stretch shortly before the whistle as Chelsea held out for victory.


Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Short, Taylor, Johansson (Grabbi 82), Dunn, Tugay (Gillespie 64), Flitcroft, Thompson, Cole, Yorke.
Subs Not Used: Kelly, Hignett, Berg.

Booked: Johansson, Thompson.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Desailly, Gallas, Babayaro, Gronkjaer (Gudjohnsen 77), Morris (De Lucas 87), Lampard, Stanic (Zenden 71), Hasselbaink, Zola.
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Huth.

Booked: Babayaro, Stanic, Morris.

Attendance: 22,999.

Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire).

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BBC Five Live's Jimmy Armfield
"Chelsea looked impressive"
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