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Saturday, August 28, 1999 Published at 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK

Dan's late strike sinks Dons

Chelsea show their relief at Dan Petrescu's winner 12 minutes from time

Wimbledon 0-1 Chelsea

Wimbledon manager Egil Olsen admitted his side deserved to be beaten - even though Chelsea took 78 minutes to break the deadlock at Selhurst Park.

The BBC's Steve Tongue: "As one sided a one nil you'd wish to see"
Gianluca Vialli admitted he had resigned himself to a goalless draw before Dan Petrescu finally put Chelsea in front - and more importantly right on the shoulders of Manchester United and Aston Villa.

Vialli re-asserted Chelsea's title pretensions when he dismissed speculation midfielder Gus Poyet was on his way to Arsenal for 4m.

"To let someone like Gus Poyet go would mean to give up. We want to keep our best players and challenge teams like Arsenal and Manchester United."

Patience tried

Vialli knows if Chelsea are to stay in the hunt for the title they need to bank on three points against teams like Wimbledon.

And though the Dons defended stoutly for much of the game but Vialli was pleased with his team's patience and persistence in finally securing the win which hoisted them into third in the table.

Vialli said: "I thought it could have stayed without any score. Sometimes that happens in football.

"We played so well. We were outstanding for much of the game and as long as we keep creating chances we can sort it out and will start scoring more.

Bolt from Blues

"I wasn't frustrated. I was just a bit unhappy because we were playing so well.

"My confidence is always high because I know my players can score out of the blue."

Petrescu came off almost straight after firing home the winner and Vialli said the midfielder had stomach ache from all the running he had done.

The Chelsea boss was not surprised to find Wimbledon making life difficult for his flair players.

Long grass

He said the long grass made it difficult to pass the ball around with any tempo but the Italian refused to criticise Egil Olsen's direct approach.

Vialli said: "It's always difficult to play Wimbledon but it was easier because we had 10,000 supporters here and it felt like a home match most of the time.

"You can believe in one system or another one but it's down to the players as well."

Superb defending gave the Dons a glimpse of a point but manager Olsen admitted his troops had been beaten by a better side.

Deserved defeat

Olsen said: "We deserved to lose but when it is 0-0 with 12 minutes to go you always have a chance.

"We have conceded so many goals lately that we focused on defence and I was quite pleased, especially with the first half."

Defender Tore Pedersen was forced to retire at half-time with the illness which kept him out of the midweek defeat at Everton.

The outstanding Ben Thatcher had to switch to a role in central defence but the home team managed to frustrate their London rivals until Petrescu scored his valuable winner.

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Roberts, Thatcher, Cort, Earle, Gayle, Pedersen, Hughes, Badir, Andersen. Subs: Kimble, Euell, Leaburn, Ainsworth, Davis.
Chelsea: De Goey, Petrescu, Babayaro, Leboeuf, Desailly, Deschamps, Poyet, Wise, Ferrer, Flo, Zola. Subs: Hogh, Sutton, Ambrosetti, Morris, Cudicini.
Scorers: Petrescu Referee: S Dunn (Bristol)

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