English League 1

O's condemn Pompey to defeat

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Tue, 20 Nov 2012 23:23:00

Roberto Di Matteo does not regret dropping Fernando Torres to the bench for Chelsea's UEFA Champions League defeat against Juventus in Turin on Tuesday.

The Blues lost the match 3-0 and, to stand any chance of reaching the last 16, the west London club must now rely on Shakhtar Donetsk beating the Italian club in the final round of group games in two weeks' time.

Fabio Quagliarella, Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco were the scorers as Juve moved to within one point of reaching the knockout stages at the expense of Chelsea.

But Di Matteo defended his team selection, with substitute Torres only joining the action in the 71st minute.

The Chelsea boss said: "I thought this was the team to beat Juventus but if the result is negative you always face repercussions.

"Torres, like all players who don't start, was disappointed but he certainly has a future and we all have to pick ourselves up again.

"I wanted a different approach tonight and to move the three centre-backs around.

"Their first goal was lucky because of the deflection but we are conceding goals and we are working on it and you need to be solid defensively if you want to win games."

As for their slim chances of progressing in the competition, the Italian added: "We still have hope because mathematically it is still possible because Shakhtar can beat Juve at home."

And Di Matteo admitted that as manager of Chelsea, his position at Stamford Bridge will always be a topic of debate.

He said: "In a big club like this - if you have a few bad results - you are going to be under pressure but you have to live with it.

"And it's been like that from day one and it's up to me to pick the players up now."

The home side had the best of the first-half chances as County, who had Jamal Campbell-Ryce sent off late on, failed to create a clear opening and neither side looked like breaking the deadlock in the second period.

Preston dominated the first half with Akpo Sodje heading wide from eight yards before Nicky Wroe twice forced Bartosz Bialkowski into smart saves inside 20 minutes.

County could consider themselves lucky to still have the full compliment at that stage as Jeff Hughes and Alan Sheehan escaped with yellow cards from rash first-half challenges.

The Lilywhites should have been ahead moments later, Stuart Beavon dispossessing Bialkowski before seeing his shot cleared by Gary Liddle's diving goal-line header.

In a feisty second half the closest either side came to scoring was North End's penalty appeal after Sodje appeared to have been pushed by Carl Regan, only for referee Tony Harrington to wave away the protests and as the match was petering out for a draw, Campbell-Ryce saw red for a nasty lunge on Scott Laird, who was taken away in an ambulance straight after.

Pompey striker Izale McLeod had a penalty stopped by Orient goalkeeper Ryan Allsop, who felled Brian Howard, after 26 minutes.

The visitors took charge just six minutes later when Dean Cox brilliantly slotted in Kevin Lisbie, who coolly swept his shot beyond Mikkel Andersen.

Orient doubled their lead after 52 minutes when Moses Odubajo slipped into space in the Pompey box and lashed the ball home. McLeod atoned for his spot-kick failure four minutes later when Pompey's Paul Benson was felled by Nathan Clarke in the box.

But Orient regained their two-goal cushion when referee Graham Scott awarded them the game's third penalty after 61 minutes when Lisbie was brought down by the returning Ricardo Rocha. Lisbie stroked confidently past Andersen.

Pompey pulled another one back after 65 minutes when Scott Allan's shot was deflected beyond Allsop by Martin Rowlands. The home side launched a relentless assault on Orient in the closing stages, but could not snatch what would have been a well-deserved point.

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