Chelsea end tour with win over Malaysia XI

July 29, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 (Reuters) - Chelsea rounded off their pre-season tour of Asia with a 2-0 win over a Malaysia select XI thanks to goals by Nicolas Anelka and Ashley Cole on Tuesday.

The Champions League finalists secured the third win of their three-leg tour in hot and humid conditions in front of a crowd of 80,000 at the Shah Alam stadium.

The Malaysians battled hard to fend off a Chelsea side orchestrated by new signing Deco and the industrious Anelka, who put the visitors ahead after 26 minutes.

The France striker latched on to a neat through ball from Joe Cole, skipped past the defence and slotted home into the bottom right hand corner from inside the penalty area.

The hosts created a handful of chances and forward Amiral Hadi Zainal almost opened the scoring inside three minutes when he broke free in the area and fired inches wide of the far post.

He also blew a perfect opportunity to equalise before halftime when he popped up unmarked in the box but fired a weak effort past the post with Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech beaten.

Portugal midfielder Deco then came close to a memorable first goal in a Chelsea shirt when his spectacular volley from 22 metres was tipped over the bar by the Malaysian keeper.

Chelsea grabbed their second goal eight minutes after the break when Ashley Cole received a Frank Lampard pass and blasted the ball into the top right hand corner from five metres.

The match was a stark contrast to the previous two games, when Chelsea romped to 7-0 and 4-0 victories over Chinese sides.

Premier League Chelsea's Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said the rugged pitch hampered his team's performance and he was relieved that his players came out unscathed.

'I crossed my fingers to finish without injuries,' he told reporters. 'It was impossible to play on this pitch, my players tried to play but it was difficult, but I saw some players play better than in the other games.'

Malaysia coach B Sathianathan said: 'I'm surprised. Everyone thought Chelsea would steamroll past us but they didn't.'