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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Premiership. Watford 0-1 Chelsea

Kalou keeps Chelsea title hopes alive
Substitute Salomon Kalou scored in injury time to keep Chelsea's Barclays Premiership hopes alive with a 1-0 victory as they moved back to within six points of leaders Manchester United. The Blues striker headed Andriy Shevchenko's cross high into the top corner three minutes into stoppage time, just as Watford appeared certain to hold out for a draw that would have effectively handed Manchester United the title.

Chelsea skipper John Terry's afternoon had got off to a painful start when Darius Henderson accidentally caught him with a stray elbow in the first minute of the match. Terry spent several minutes receiving treatment but was eventually able to continue.

Terry's difficult opening might have seen him concede penalty after he appeared to handle Tommy Smith's cross but referee Uriah Rennie turned down Watford's vociferous appeals. Watford's positive start continued when Kabba forced a save from Cech with a spectacular overhead kick, while Henderson shot wide on the turn and, later, directed a weak header at goal.

Chelsea had a penalty appeal of their own turned down when Lampard - playing with a support on his broken wrist - went down after a clumsy challenge, while Foster made a brilliant save with his legs to deny Drogba.

All Watford lacked was a goal and they should have had one in the 51st minute. Gavin Mahon's long throw sparked pandemonium in the penalty area and after a chaotic few seconds, Kabba found himself with time and space to spare at the back post but sliced horribly wide.

Shaun Wright-Phillips curled wide from 20 yards and when Lampard broke clear only to see the ball whipped away from his toes by Jay DeMerit, Chelsea's faint title hopes appeared to evaporate. Not so, In the 93rd minute, Shevchenko charged down the right and delivered an inch-perfect cross which Kalou - on as a second-half substitute - headed in gleefully from 10 yards.

Watford boss Adrian Boothroyd:
"It is hard to take. I'm proud of my team but disappointed.

"We did very well in many aspects. It was scrappy and we wanted it that way to make it difficult for them.

"What pleased me was that last time we played Chelsea we looked like little boys out autograph hunting but we stood up to them this time."

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho:
"I think that if we had gone from six points to eight or nine behind Manchester United, mathematically it would still be possible to win the title but mentally not.

"Every game is crucial. If we win every game then I think we can be champions.

"Maybe the draw was a fair result. We have a strong group and we have to go all the way in every match."

Watford: Foster, Chambers, DeMerit, Shittu, Stewart, Smith, Mahon, Francis, Rinaldi, Henderson (Priskin 69), Kabba (Bouazza 81).
Subs Not Used: Lee, Doyley, Bangura.

Booked: Francis.

Chelsea: Cech, Geremi (Ferreira 46), Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole (Mikel 58), Makelele (Kalou 46), Lampard, Ballack, Wright-Phillips, Drogba, Shevchenko.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Boulahrouz.

Booked: Wright-Phillips, Ferreira, Carvalho.

Goals: Kalou 93.

Premiership Watford 0-1 Chelsea highlights: