Snow joke as Blues go out
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Chelsea's quadruple dream is over after Newcastle won 1-0 in the FA Cup fifth round.
Newcastle United burst Chelsea's quadruple bubble as Patrick Kluivert earned The Magpies a narrow FA Cup fifth round victory at a snowbound St James' Park.
Groundstaff had worked commendably prior to kick-off to clear snow from the pitch and their efforts were rewarded when Kluivert headed the only goal of the contest after just four minutes.
The Dutchman's intervention ensured Chelsea can no longer pocket an unprecedented four trophies this season, while Kluivert's goal breathes renewed life into Newcastle's lacklustre campaign.
But Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho may rue fielding a weakened team on snow-swept Tyneside as his decision to make three substitutions at half time only resulted in the visitors playing much of the second half with ten men after Wayne Bridge was stretchered off, while Carlo Cudicini was then sent off in injury time which will rule the goalkeeper out of next weekend's Carling Cup final against Liverpool.
Laurent Robert displayed his customary ambition after just 90 seconds when he ventured to shoot from a ridiculous angle but his effort was never in danger of troubling Cudicini.
But two minutes later, Robert showed great composure to provide the chance from which The Magpies took the lead.
The hosts patiently worked the ball out to the left flank where Robert whipped in a measured cross which Kluivert met with a thumping header at the near post to send the Geordie faithful into rapture.
That was the only chance Newcastle created in a first half where their players, perhaps sensibly, used their tireless industry to keep warm in the polar-esque conditions.
Chelsea seemed to lack the bite of their opponents and, while dictating possession for most of the opening period, they only caused panic on two occasions.
Their first chance arrived on 24 minutes as Tiago's cross deflected into the penalty area for the alert Mateja Kezman. But the luckless Serb, who has endured a frustrating start to his English career, saw his clever flick rebound off the crossbar as the Newcastle defence gawped at each other.
Just past the half-hour, Jiri Jarosik's low drive was tipped comfortably around the post by Shay Given as both keepers looked more in danger of succumbing to frostbite, than having their fingers burned by a flurry of shots.
Blues boss Mourinho attempted to inject some drive into his team with a triple substitution at the break as Damien Duff, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Frank Lampard were summoned from the bench.
But Mourinho's plan backfired early in the second half when the visitors were reduced to ten men after Bridge was stretchered off and taken to hospital with a suspected broken ankle.
The Blues tried to make light of their numerical inferiority with Lampard's fizzing low drive from distance being held by Given and Kezman then skewing a volley wide after being teed up by Jarosik.
Newcastle's prospects of clinching a second goal were largely hampered by the poor crossing of Robert, although Stephen Carr was denied by the dual efforts of Duff and Cudicini after sneaking in behind a sparse Chelsea rearguard.
The hosts lacked the killer instinct to grab that all-elusive second goal and almost received a stroke of good fortune when Glen Johnson sliced the ball over his own bar.
In injury time, Chelsea were reduced to nine men when Cudicini was shown the red card for bringing down Shola Ameobi on the edge of the box, which left the Italian's replacement - Johnson - to produce a fine save from Robert's thunderous free kick.
With Duff and William Gallas picking up knocks, in addition to Bridge's injury, Mourinho will not only have to count the cost of the physical damage but also any adverse mental reaction to the club's first real setback of the season.
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