Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
Rafael Benitez suffered a fiercely hostile reception from Chelsea's supporters as his managerial reign opened with a goalless draw against Premier League champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich appointed the former Liverpool manager on an interim basis after sacking Roberto Di Matteo only six months after winning the Champions League and FA Cup.
Benitez's arrival has met with an angry response from Chelsea fans in the wake of his old rivalry with them during his time at Anfield - and they made their strength of feeling abundantly clear.
The Spaniard was met with deafening jeers when he arrived in the technical area before kick-off, with the stadium announcer struggling to make himself heard ahead of a minute's applause for
The mediocre affair did little to lift spirits, with City, still unbeaten in the league, marginally the better side but unable to fashion the victory that would have taken them back above Manchester United at the top of the table.
Benitez was left with plenty to ponder after the frosty response from his own fans, who directed abusive chants at him during the game and also delivered a minute's applause for Di Matteo after 16 minutes, in honour of the Italian who wore the number 16 shirt as a player.
And there was no instant revival for Fernando Torres as he struggled once more - although Benitez will be pleased with a clean sheet.
The antipathy directed towards Benitez continued throughout a subdued first half, with City creating what few opportunities there were.
David Silva headed off target from an inviting cross from Pablo Zabaleta, who saw a shot from the edge of the area blocked by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Sergio Aguero missed City's best chance four minutes before half-time, heading straight at Cech from eight yards after being set up by strike partner Edin Dzeko.
One of Benitez's priorities is to rekindle the fire in Torres and it was clear Chelsea's game had undergone a swift shift in emphasis, with an obvious increase in the number of long balls being hit towards the striker. On this occasion, though, it made life even easier for City captain Vincent Kompany.
Torres came to life on the hour when a loose ball fell in his direction in the area but he could only fire a rising left foot drive narrowly over the bar.
In a torrential downpour, moments of quality were scarce although Chelsea had an anxious moment as the game entered its final 10 minutes as Cech was forced to divert James Milner's cross with his legs.
Benitez had remained largely impassive but moved to question the fourth official when Ashley Cole's late shot was clearly turned over by City keeper Joe Hart only for referee Chris Foy to award a goal-kick.
It almost counted as a moment of high drama in a game that was, to put it politely, subdued and low key.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini:
"Games here are always hard but we played well while missing the last pass. We were too soft when we arrived near the box, you can play well, like we did, and not win the game.
"We had the better chances, I think that we lost two points. We dominated the first half, but the second half was not quite like that.
"It was difficult for them [with the atmosphere about Rafael Benitez], but we played well. Last year we lost a good game, this year we took one point. I am not happy but I prefer this."
- 01 Cech
- 02 Ivanovic
- 03 Cole
- 04 Luiz
- 28 Azpilicueta
- 07 Ramires
- 10 Mata
- 11 Oscar
- 12 Mikel (Romeu - 79' )
- 17 Hazard (Moses - 71' )
- 09 Torres
- 22 Turnbull
- 19 Ferreira
- 24 Cahill
- 34 Bertrand
- 06 Romeu
- 13 Moses
- 21 Marin
- 01 Hart
- 04 Kompany
- 05 Zabaleta Booked
- 13 Kolarov Booked
- 33 Nastasic
- 07 Milner
- 18 Barry
- 21 Silva
- 42 Y Toure
- 10 Dzeko (Tevez - 69' )
- 16 Aguero (Balotelli - 86' Booked )
- 30 Pantilimon
- 03 Maicon
- 28 K Toure
- 08 Nasri
- 14 Garcia
- 32 Tevez
- 45 Balotelli
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +2:21 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Mario Balotelli for unsporting behaviour.90:00 +0:12
Corner taken left-footed by David Silva, Matija Nastasic takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.85:54
Cesar Azpilicueta fouled by Mario Balotelli, the ref awards a free kick. Cesar Azpilicueta takes the direct free kick.85:09 Substitution
Substitution Mario Balotelli on for Sergio Aguero.84:41
Shot by Ashley Cole from just outside the area goes over the net.83:20
Inswinging corner taken by Juan Mata.82:58
Corner taken by Juan Mata from the right by-line, Gareth Barry manages to make a clearance.81:35
Gareth Barry gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Fernando Torres. Juan Mata crosses the ball in from the free kick, James Milner makes a clearance.78:28 Substitution
Substitution Mikel leaves the field to be replaced by Oriol Romeu.78:28
Shot from inside the area by Carlos Tevez clears the bar.77:43
Unfair challenge on Juan Mata by Pablo Zabaleta results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Juan Mata.76:34
Branislav Ivanovic takes the direct free kick.76:34 Booking
Booking Booking for Aleksandar Kolarov for unsporting behaviour.76:21
Aleksandar Kolarov gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Victor Moses.75:50
Handball decision goes against Victor Moses. Yaya Toure restarts play with the free kick.74:56
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by David Silva, Fernando Torres makes a clearance.74:17
David Silva takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Victor Moses.71:36
Free kick awarded for a foul by Emboaba Oscar on Pablo Zabaleta. Direct free kick taken by Pablo Zabaleta.71:07
Victor Moses challenges Aleksandar Kolarov unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
Substitution Victor Moses joins the action as a substitute, replacing Eden Hazard.69:12
Carlos Tevez fouled by Mikel, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Yaya Toure.68:55
Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.68:55 Substitution
Substitution Edin Dzeko leaves the field to be replaced by Carlos Tevez.68:55
The offside flag is raised against Sergio Aguero.66:57
Corner taken by Aleksandar Kolarov, Matija Nastasic takes a shot. David Luiz manages to make a clearance.65:53
Outswinging corner taken by Aleksandar Kolarov from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Ashley Cole.64:32 Booking
Booking Pablo Zabaleta goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.60:39
Effort on goal by Fernando Torres from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.59:25
Corner taken by Emboaba Oscar from the left by-line, Vincent Kompany makes a clearance.58:46
Effort on goal by Yaya Toure from 30 yards. Save by Petr Cech.58:15
Handball decision goes against Fernando Torres. Direct free kick taken by David Silva.57:40
Corner taken left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov, clearance by Fernando Torres.56:12
Corner taken by Juan Mata played to the near post, Header from deep inside the area by David Luiz goes over the bar.55:55
Unfair challenge on Eden Hazard by Gareth Barry results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Eden Hazard.54:27
Aleksandar Kolarov concedes a free kick for a foul on Fernando Torres. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Juan Mata from right wing, Edin Dzeko manages to make a clearance.53:46
Fernando Torres gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Matija Nastasic. Joe Hart takes the free kick.52:55
Nascimento Ramires takes a shot from a long way out clearing the bar.51:45
James Milner gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta. Petr Cech takes the direct free kick.51:13
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov played to the near post, clearance by David Luiz.49:39
The official flags Eden Hazard offside. Joe Hart takes the free kick.49:04
Eden Hazard takes a inswinging corner.45:48
Sergio Aguero challenges David Luiz unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Petr Cech.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:00 +1:00 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.44:12
Aleksandar Kolarov concedes a free kick for a foul on Fernando Torres. Juan Mata crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance made by Yaya Toure.43:44
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Milner by Fernando Torres. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.42:39
Aleksandar Kolarov takes a short corner.41:29
Sergio Aguero takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.40:30
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gareth Barry by Nascimento Ramires. Free kick taken by Yaya Toure.38:12
Free kick awarded for a foul by Pablo Zabaleta on Nascimento Ramires. David Luiz shoots direct from the free kick, comfortable save by Joe Hart.36:38
Corner taken left-footed by David Silva, Gareth Barry takes a shot. Matija Nastasic takes a shot. Blocked by Branislav Ivanovic. Save made by Petr Cech.36:25
Pablo Zabaleta takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.32:35
Emboaba Oscar challenges Pablo Zabaleta unfairly and gives away a free kick. Pablo Zabaleta restarts play with the free kick.30:28
Unfair challenge on David Luiz by James Milner results in a free kick. David Luiz restarts play with the free kick.29:24
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata from the right by-line, Joe Hart makes a save.27:01
Sergio Aguero takes a shot. Blocked by Cesar Azpilicueta.25:50
Aleksandar Kolarov challenges Juan Mata unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mikel takes the free kick.22:20
Unfair challenge on Eden Hazard by Matija Nastasic results in a free kick. Mikel takes the direct free kick.20:22
Header from deep inside the area by David Silva goes harmlessly over the crossbar.19:00
James Milner produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.15:06
Foul by Yaya Toure on Eden Hazard, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by David Luiz.14:31
Corner taken left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov from the left by-line, Ashley Cole makes a clearance.13:45
Unfair challenge on Yaya Toure by Nascimento Ramires results in a free kick. Yaya Toure takes the free kick.12:35
Eden Hazard fouled by Yaya Toure, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by David Luiz.9:51
Emboaba Oscar crosses the ball, clearance made by Matija Nastasic.9:04
The ball is sent over by Aleksandar Kolarov, save by Petr Cech. Free kick awarded for a foul by Fernando Torres on Pablo Zabaleta. Pablo Zabaleta restarts play with the free kick.8:05
Fernando Torres fouled by Aleksandar Kolarov, the ref awards a free kick. Cesar Azpilicueta restarts play with the free kick.5:37
Fernando Torres is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Pablo Zabaleta restarts play with the free kick.3:54
Corner taken left-footed by Aleksandar Kolarov from the right by-line to the near post, Emboaba Oscar manages to make a clearance.0:00
The game kicks-off.
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