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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 20:49 GMT 21:49 UK
C Palace 0-2 Chelsea
Didier Drogba
Drogba scored with a header
Didier Drogba and Tiago's first league goals handed Chelsea victory over Crystal Palace and sent the Blues back to the top of the Premiership.

The Ivory Coast's Drogba headed home a Celestine Babayaro cross midway through the first half, before hobbling off with a knock 10 minutes from time.

And Portugal star Tiago then made sure of the points, scoring with a crisp 18-yard drive on 73 minutes.

Palace showed grit but lacked quality, Danny Granville spurning a good chance.

With joint top of the league playing bottom, one-way traffic was to be expected, but the first opening fell to the hosts.

MATCH INCIDENT
27: Drogba scores his first league goal with a header
73: Tiago rifles home from 18 yards
75: Drogba limps off with an apparent ankle injury

Wayne Routledge whipped in a quality corner only for an unmarked Danny Granville to head agonisingly wide against his former club with the goal at his mercy.

Increasingly, Chelsea dominated possession, Joe Cole driving them from the space behind a new-look front two of Drogba and Mateja Kezman.

A well-crafted move freed Cole, who struck a firm shot against Palace keeper Julian Speroni.

The visitors took the lead on 27 minutes when Babayaro - in for injured Wayne Bridge - put in a teasing cross that Drogba met powerfully with his head to score in the bottom corner.

Drogba's left ankle has ice on it an we are pretty confident he'll be fine
Steve Clarke
Chelsea coach

And Cole, who was keen to impress with England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson in the stands, got on the end of another sweet move to drill a crisp volley straight at Speroni.

Plucky Palace started the second half brightly, creating a couple of half chances for their top marksman Andy Johnson.

Chelsea, meanwhile, sat back on their lead and had only a turn-and-shot from Cole to show for their efforts when Kezman, who had been starved of chances, made way for Adrian Mutu.

The switch brought immediate rewards.

I just cannot fault the effort they put in
Iain Dowie
Crystal Palace manager

Tiago showed quick feet before rifling in a low shot from 18 yards.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho would not have been pleased to see Drogba limp off with an ankle injury two minutes later.

But he can look down with pride at the rest of his Premiership rivals as his Blues made it three wins out of three without conceding a goal.


Crystal Palace: Speroni, Boyce, Hudson, Popovic, Granville, Routledge, Hall, Riihilahti, Kolkka, Johnson, Kaviedes (Hughes 67).
Subs Not Used: Derry, Freedman, Borrowdale, Kiraly.

Booked: Hudson.

Chelsea: Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Babayaro, Makelele, Lampard, Tiago, Cole (Geremi 76), Drogba (Gudjohnsen 75), Kezman (Mutu 70).
Subs Not Used: Ricardo Carvalho, Cudicini.

Booked: Babayaro.

Attendance: 24,953

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Steve Clarke



Interview: Joe Cole





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