Diouf takes advantage of a static defence to secure a point for Blackburn
By Mark Ashenden
El-Hadji Diouf's header earned a point for Blackburn as Chelsea's title aspirations took a blow at Ewood Park.
They had led for much of the game after Nicolas Anelka opened up the injury-hit hosts on the right and pulled back for Didier Drogba to slot home.
Florent Malouda shot at keeper Jason Brown before Blackburn saw Christopher Samba go close with a header.
As Chelsea dropped deeper Michel Salgado burst down the right and Diouf out-jumped Paulo Ferreira to nod in.
With Manchester United regaining top spot after beating Liverpool, it was crucial for the London side to keep breathing down the necks of their rivals and a single point on Sunday's travels means they remain third, four points behind the leaders with a game in hand.
The Blues have now picked up only seven points out of a possible 15 as their hunt for silverware wobbled once again.
Ancelotti retains league title hopes
It had all begun so brightly for Carlo Ancelotti's men with their opener inside six minutes and the manager would have been delighted, having remarked in the build-up that a possible FA Cup and League double was "in their own hands".
Bouncing back from their midweek Champions League demise against Inter Milan would have been their top priority and there was no surprise in seeing the red-hot Drogba on the scoresheet.
The goal was all down to the trickery of Anelka, who produced a jinking run on the right to carve open the Blackburn defence.
His clever pull-back teed up Drogba and the Ivory Coast striker coolly slotted in with his left foot for his 22nd league goal of the season.
Any confidence the hosts may have had on the back of their Carling Cup penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea three months ago seemed to immediately drain away and Drogba and Malouda wasted two chances to extend the lead.
Sam Allardyce's team have lost at home only twice in the league this season and they at last showed some spirit as Morten Gamst Pedersen twice blazed over from outside the box.
Despite missing a number of players through injury, which saw keeper Brown in for Paul Robinson, Blackburn were starting to rattle their London guests with a number of crunching tackles.
There were none more committed that Phil Jones, the 18-year-old making his league debut, and his firm challenges on Drogba and Frank Lampard in the middle of the park on the half-hour significantly increased the noise levels inside Ewood Park.
Just before the break Malouda was denied a goal by Brown and the chance was a result of Drogba showing that he is not just about goals.
The tireless striker, hoping to make up for his sending off against Inter Milan, intercepted a Blackburn breakaway with a sliding tackle and set up Malouda, who strolled through the defence but shot straight at the keeper.
Back came the hosts and they came close to an equaliser soon after the interval as Samba nodded on a long throw and would have found the net had it not been for the well-positioned substitute Yuri Zhirkov, who cleared the danger from the line.
Allardyce desperately needed a change in momentum and introduced striker Jason Roberts for Nikola Kalinic - a decision not popular with the local fans.
Allardyce pleased by Rovers comeback
But the howls of derision turned into cheers on 70 minutes as Diouf stunned the Londoners.
Chelsea seemed increasingly intent on sitting back and they paid a heavy price as Salgado's curling cross from the right fell to the leaping Diouf, who powered in a header past Ross Turnbull.
There was still time for Drogba to see a shot pushed around the post by Brown and Chelsea also had a number of late corners as they piled the pressure on the home defence, but Blackburn survived.
With Allardyce's stubborn and hard-working team still to play United and Arsenal, Blackburn have a vital role to play in the final destination of the Premier League trophy.
90:00+5:07 The referee brings the game to a close.
90:00+2:08 Corner taken by Florent Malouda from the left by-line, clearance by Phil Jones. Outswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard
from the right by-line played to the near post.
90:00+2:08 Substitution David Hoilett comes on in place of Steven Nzonzi.
89:48 Free kick taken by Jason Brown.
89:48 Substitution Daniel Sturridge joins the action as a substitute, replacing Nicolas Anelka.
89:48 Florent Malouda is adjudged to have handled the ball.
89:31 Frank Lampard delivers the ball, blocked by El-Hadji Diouf.
87:51 Keith Andrews restarts play with the free kick.
87:51 Booking Booking for Yuri Zhirkov for unsporting behaviour.
86:38 Frank Lampard takes a shot. Keith Andrews gets a block in. Deco takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near
post, Didier Drogba takes a shot. Blocked by Christopher Samba. Corner taken by Deco from the right by-line to the near post.
Yuri Zhirkov challenges Jason Roberts unfairly and gives away a free kick.
85:58 The ball is swung over by Florent Malouda, clearance by Christopher Samba.
85:20 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Florent Malouda, clearance by Christopher Samba.
84:58 The ball is delivered by Nicolas Anelka, Christopher Samba makes a clearance.
84:51 The ball is sent over by Yuri Zhirkov.
84:23 Yuri Zhirkov sends in a cross, clearance by Phil Jones.
80:58 Foul by Michel Salgado on Nicolas Anelka, free kick awarded. Frank Lampard takes the free kick. Effort on goal by Alex from
outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
79:44 The offside flag is raised against Didier Drogba. Indirect free kick taken by Keith Andrews.
79:13 Deco gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on El-Hadji Diouf. Jason Brown takes the free kick.
75:48 Free kick awarded for a foul by John Terry on Jason Roberts. Morten Gamst Pedersen crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed
from left wing, Ross Turnbull makes a save.
75:24 A cross is delivered by Frank Lampard, Martin Olsson makes a clearance.
75:18 Centre by Yuri Zhirkov.
74:54 Deco crosses the ball, clearance by Michel Salgado.
73:03 Substitution Deco joins the action as a substitute, replacing Salomon Kalou.
71:35 Morten Gamst Pedersen concedes a free kick for a foul on Didier Drogba. Didier Drogba produces a strike on goal direct from
the free kick.
69:14 Assist on the goal came from Michel Salgado.
69:14 GOAL - El-Hadji Diouf:Blackburn 1 - 1 Chelsea El-Hadji Diouf finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Blackburn 1-1 Chelsea.
69:12 Michel Salgado delivers the ball,
67:57 Centre by Morten Gamst Pedersen.
65:25 Steven Nzonzi gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Didier Drogba. Indirect free kick taken by Paulo Ferreira.
64:33 Nicolas Anelka takes a shot. Jason Brown makes a comfortable save.
63:49 Brett Emerton sends in a cross, clearance made by Alex.
61:49 Keith Andrews restarts play with the free kick.
61:49 Substitution Nikola Kalinic goes off and Jason Roberts comes on.
61:49 Foul by Salomon Kalou on Phil Jones, free kick awarded.
61:33 The ball is delivered by Yuri Zhirkov.
60:30 Florent Malouda takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
59:54 Frank Lampard takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Keith Andrews.
59:24 Foul by Steven Nzonzi on Didier Drogba, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Frank Lampard.
58:48 Long range shot by Phil Jones goes over the target.
57:59 The ball is swung over by Michel Salgado.
55:30 Substitution Brett Emerton replaces David Dunn.
54:35 A cross is delivered by Nicolas Anelka, clearance by Christopher Samba.
53:47 Morten Gamst Pedersen is caught offside. Free kick taken by Ross Turnbull.
50:23 Corner taken by El-Hadji Diouf played to the near post, Alex manages to make a clearance.
49:21 Salomon Kalou gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Dunn. Keith Andrews restarts play with the free kick.
48:02 Frank Lampard has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses left.
47:08 Morten Gamst Pedersen produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.
46:38 Christopher Samba takes a shot. Clearance by Yuri Zhirkov.
45:01 The second half kicks off.
45:00+2:24 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
45:00+2:18 El-Hadji Diouf crosses the ball, John Terry makes a clearance.
45:00+1:44 Unfair challenge on Phil Jones by Didier Drogba results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Keith Andrews.
44:56 Substitution Yuri Zhirkov on for Branislav Ivanovic.
43:27 The ball is crossed by Florent Malouda.
43:13 Frank Lampard sends in a cross, clearance made by Michel Salgado.
42:09 Outswinging corner taken by Frank Lampard from the right by-line, clearance made by Christopher Samba.
38:58 Florent Malouda takes a shot. Save by Jason Brown.
38:15 Centre by Branislav Ivanovic, clearance by Phil Jones.
37:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Didier Drogba by David Dunn. Ross Turnbull takes the free kick.
36:44 John Terry sends in a cross.
36:09 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard played to the near post.
32:51 Free kick awarded for a foul by Mikel on Keith Andrews. Morten Gamst Pedersen takes the direct free kick.
32:03 Foul by David Dunn on Paulo Ferreira, free kick awarded. Paulo Ferreira takes the indirect free kick.
30:42 Unfair challenge on Florent Malouda by David Dunn results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Ross Turnbull.
29:35 Centre by Frank Lampard.
29:09 A cross is delivered by Michel Salgado, Christopher Samba takes a shot. Ross Turnbull makes a save.
27:10 The ball is sent over by Nicolas Anelka, clearance made by Christopher Samba.
25:27 Effort from inside the area by Morten Gamst Pedersen misses to the right of the goal.
24:46 Unfair challenge on David Dunn by Alex results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Keith Andrews.
22:51 Frank Lampard produces a cross.
22:00 Nicolas Anelka delivers the ball. Corner from the right by-line taken by Frank Lampard, Alex takes a shot from 12 yards. Clearance
made by Christopher Samba.
20:46 Salomon Kalou produces a cross, Close range shot by Nicolas Anelka misses to the left of the target.
19:37 David Dunn is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Mikel takes the direct free kick.
18:32 The ball is crossed by Michel Salgado, blocked by Paulo Ferreira. Corner taken left-footed by Morten Gamst Pedersen from the
right by-line, save by Ross Turnbull.
16:54 Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Nzonzi on Didier Drogba. Frank Lampard delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed
from right channel, save by Jason Brown.
14:38 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Dunn by Alex. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Morten
Gamst Pedersen, Ross Turnbull makes a save. Corner taken by El-Hadji Diouf from the left by-line played to the near post,
Keith Andrews has a headed effort from close range and clears the crossbar.
13:18 A cross is delivered by Nikola Kalinic.
12:51 Martin Olsson delivers the ball.
12:20 Christopher Samba concedes a free kick for a foul on Didier Drogba. Mikel takes the direct free kick.
11:01 Florent Malouda sends in a cross, Christopher Samba makes a clearance.
7:13 Corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard from the right by-line to the near post, Salomon Kalou has a header from inside
the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
6:37 Corner taken by Florent Malouda from the left by-line, Alex takes a shot. Blocked by David Dunn.
5:08 Assist by Nicolas Anelka.
5:08 GOAL - Didier Drogba:Blackburn 0 - 1 Chelsea Didier Drogba scores a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea.
4:47 Martin Olsson sends in a cross.
3:43 John Terry fouled by Nikola Kalinic, the ref awards a free kick. Ross Turnbull restarts play with the free kick.
3:04 Effort from outside the penalty box by Didier Drogba goes wide right of the target.
2:09 The assistant referee signals for offside against Nicolas Anelka. Indirect free kick taken by Jason Brown.
1:15 The offside flag is raised against Nikola Kalinic. Ross Turnbull restarts play with the free kick.
0:00 The game begins.
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