VICTORY AND 90 MINUTES FOR ESSIEN

Posted on: Wed 11 Oct 2006

Michael Essien kicked-off friendly international week for many of the Chelsea squad with a win. But there was a taste of defeat for Lassana Diarra at Under 21 level.

 

Essien, as he promised, was sufficiently untroubled by a wrist injury to make the short journey to Brentford's Griffin Park where Togo were Ghana's opposition.

 

Jose Mourinho has declared his wish to see his international-selected players spend as much time on the pitch as possible this week for fitness reasons. Following 90 minutes in the Community Shield, Essien played another full game on Tuesday evening.

 

Ghana had lost their previous encounter with Togo, a friendly last winter, but in this latest battle between two of Africa's World Cup qualifiers, it was Ghana who came out on top.

 

Two second-half goals, scored by Razak Pimpong and Alex Tachie-Mensah, did the job as Essien's team ran out 2-0 winners.

 

In Bayeux, France Under 21s lost 1-0 at home to Belgium. Though the result was a disappointment for Diarra, he will have been pleased to have played all 90 minutes of the game. The Chelsea starlet has not been a guaranteed starter at this level and he earned praise for a solid performance on Tuesday. It was his 11th game at this level.

 

France lost right-back Albin Ebondo to a red card just before half-time and having made five changes for the second-half, they went down to a 71st minute strike.

 

by Paul Mason