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Last Updated: Monday, 21 April, 2003, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Chelsea stroll past Everton
Gudjohnsen opens the scoring
Chelsea 4-1 Everton

Chelsea strengthened their grip on a Champions League place as European rivals Everton were well beaten at Stamford Bridge.

Jesper Gronkjaer was the inspiration behind Chelsea's triumph as Everton were left to fight for a Uefa Cup slot.

Eidur Gudjohnsen gave Chelsea a first-half lead - and further strikes by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Gronkjaer gave coach Claudio Ranieri's side complete command.

Everton pulled a goal back from Lee Carsley, but it was never going to be enough as Chelsea returned to winning ways after defeat at Aston Villa.

And substitute Gianfranco Zola crowned a fine performance with a brilliant fourth in the final minute.

Chelsea left Zola on the bench as they went in search of crucial Champions League points - while Wayne Rooney continued up front for Everton.

And it was a foul on Rooney that brought the first yellow card after only eight minutes when he was flattened by Enrique de Lucas.

23 mins: Gudjohnsen puts Chelsea ahead.
47 mins: Hasselbaink heads Chelsea's second.
60 mins: Gronkjaer adds a third for Chelsea.
76 mins: Carsley pulls a goal back for Everton.
90 mins: Zola rounds off victory with Chelsea's fourth.

Chelsea broke the deadlock after 23 minutes, with Everton captain David Weir was left cursing a slip on the Stamford Bridge turf.

He lost his footing to let in Gudjohsen, who controlled first time and beat Richard Wright with a comprehensive finish.

Chelsea failed to build on their advantage in a low-key first half, and almost conceded an equaliser in careless fashion three minutes before the interval.

Carlo Cudicini's poor throw gifted possession to Scot Gemmill, and Gary Naysmith almost scrambled home.

But it took only two minutes of the second period for Chelsea to double their lead.

I smirk when I hear people saying we are out of Champions League contention - we have done brilliantly
Everton manager David Moyes

Jesper Gronkjear left Joseph Yobo trailing in his wake, and Hasselbaink's header floated over Wright into the top corner.

Wright was injured after colliding with a post - but was able to carry on after treatment.

Everton boss David Moyes immediately made a double substitution, Tony Hibbert and Thomas Gravesen replacing Yobo and David Unsworth.

But it was Chelsea who extended their lead on the hour, John Terry's raking pass finding Gronkjaer, who showed great control and composure to beat Wright.

Carlsey scrambled home to give Everton hope - but Zola provided the final flourish with a stunning lob to leave Stamford Bridge elated.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Desailly, Terry, Gallas, Gronkjaer (Le Saux 87), Petit, Lampard, De Lucas, Gudjohnsen (Cole 84), Hasselbaink (Zola 81). Subs not used: de Goey, Stanic.
Booked: De Lucas.

Everton: Wright, Yobo (Gravesen 52), Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth (Hibbert 52), Naysmith, Gemmill, Li Tie (Ferguson 78), Carsley, Campbell, Rooney. Subs not used: Gerrard, Alexandersson.
Booked: Gravesen.

Attendance: 40,875

Referee: M Riley (W Yorkshire).

BBC Five Live's Steve Wilson
"Everton were unadventurous, Chelsea uninspired"

Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola
"It was a very good performance"



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