Saturday, September 25, 1999 Published at 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Chelsea scramble over Boro
Lambourde: It wasn't pretty but it worked
Middlesbrough 0-1 Chelsea
Chelsea's striking problems continued as only a scrappy goal from defender Bernarnd Lambourde kept their Premiership campaign on track.
The defeat tasted even sourer for Middlesbrough supporters because Guadaloupe-born Lambourde had survived two strong first-half penalty claims.
Chelsea's under-fire striker Chris Sutton failed to make an impact and was substituted while his replacement Tore Andre Flo fared no better.
Manager Gianluca Vialli was still pleased with the performance.
"We matched them for fighting spirit. We did not create a lot of chances but we were solid and I'm delighted with the performance."
Chelsea play Turkish side Galatasaray in the Champions league next week and then face Manchester United in the Premiership four days later.
Lambourde's bundled goal was Chelsea's first goal from open play in four games.
Sutton never really looked like ending that run and it was Middlesbrough who looked the more threatening side in the opening half.
But when the influential Paul Ince limped off injured Chelsea captain Dennis Wise was able to control the midfield and the Blues dominated much of the second half
Zola was full of creative ideas but needed a more deadly foil.
Boro have their own scoring problems and striker Hamilton Ricard missed several chances, the best when he blasted high from close range from a Christian Ziege free-kick.
Referee Paul Alcock could have made it easier for Boro had he given either of two first-half penalty claims - the first when Lambourde appeared to handle and the second when he brought down O'Neill - but he saw no infringment.
Lambourde escaped to give Chelsea the lead early in through the second-half.
Zola's curling free-kick caused confusion when it hit the crossbar and ricocheted high into the air.
Lambourde reacted quickest and barged the ball over the line with his chest.
It was a bad-tempered match which saw midfield substitute Paul Gasgoigne dismissed in injury time.
Gasgoine - omitted in favour of Brazilian Juninho in a three-man central line alongside captain Paul Ince and Keith O'Neill - was sent off for apparently swearing at the assistant referee as he tried to force Dennis Wise hurry a corner.
Juninho, substituted with Brian Deane twenty minutes from time, was given a bruising reception on his return to the Premiership.
He was bumped and battered in several challenges, the worst by Sutton who was booked.