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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Premiership, Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea

Lampard strikes to sink City and cut United's lead

Chelsea moved to within six points of Premiership leaders Manchester United as Frank Lampard's 20th goal of the season gave them a 1-0 win over Manchester City.

Lampard sent Manchester City goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson the wrong way from the spot in the 28th minute after Micah Richards had been punished for tripping Salomon Kalou.

City had been keen to win over their supporters after a miserable run which also included an FA Cup exit at the hands of Blackburn. They started well with Joey Barton latching onto a clearance from the returning John Terry in the sixth minute, only to fire his effort high over the crossbar.
Emile Mpenza, making his first start for City, linked up well with Stephen Ireland three minutes later. However the move broke down when the Belgian striker strayed into an offside position for the return ball.

Play switched back down the other end and Arjen Robben took up a good position in the 12th minute but failed to test Isaksson. City midfielder Dietmar Hamann was then given a talking to by referee Alan Wiley for clipping Claude Makelele's heels.
Ireland tried to release Mpenza in the 19th minute but Ashley Cole made a timely intervention. Chelsea were taking their time to get going and Lampard tried to release Michael Ballack in the penalty area, only to overhit the pass and see the move break down.

A minute later Ireland pounced on a loose ball but snatched at his shot and saw it clear the bar, Yet it was Chelsea who made the breakthrough in the 28th minute when Lampard struck from the spot after Richards' misdemeanour.The young England defender pleaded his innocence after a foolish challenge but Lampard ignored the fuss with a cool finish.

Barton made a vain appeal for a penalty in the 31st minute after going to ground following a challenge from Makelele. ManchesterCity were refusing to lie down and Barton flashed a shot across the face of Peter Cech's goal in the 39th minute.
Chelsea, however, remained dangerous on the counter attack with Kalou, Didier Drogba and Robben always looking for openings.

Chelsea suffered a scare after the break when Terry started limping heavily after a challenge, and even though he carried on with what appeared to be an ankle injury, he still looked uncomfortable.

Richards made some amends for his earlier mistake after 56 minutes, clearing off the line after Lampard had lifted the ball over Isaksson towards the empty net.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho sent on City old boy Wright-Phillips for the subdued Arjen Robben with 13 minutes left, and he almost doubled Chelsea's lead within seconds of his arrival, hitting the bar with a rising 20-yard drive.

City's lack of invention was almost embarrassing, but Barton threatened an unlikely equaliser after 80 minutes - however, he shot wastefully wide.

Chelsea had hardly been peppering City's goal either, but Didier Drogba brought a block from Isaksson as time ran out.

And Isaksson then saved from Michael Ballack in injury time as Chelsea claimed the three points.

Manchester City: Isaksson, Richards, Dunne, Distin, Ball, Jihai (Miller 63), Ireland, Barton, Hamann (Dabo 80), Mpenza, Vassell (Samaras 72).
Subs Not Used: Hart, Dickov.

Booked: Hamann, Dunne, Richards.

Chelsea: Cech, Geremi, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Robben (Wright-Phillips 77), Ballack, Lampard, Makelele (Diarra 90), Kalou, Drogba.
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Shevchenko, Boulahrouz.

Booked: Drogba, Ballack.

Goals: Lampard 28 pen.

Premiership Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea highlights and post match interviews: