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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 November, 2004, 17:00 GMT
Fulham 1-4 Chelsea

Arjen Robben
Chelsea reclaimed top spot in the Premiership with a deserved victory over west London neighbours Fulham.

The visitors went ahead through Frank Lampard's swerving free-kick and could have had two first-half penalties.

But Chelsea lost the lead in a match for the first time this season when Papa Boupa Diop volleyed a superb goal.

A mazy run and shot from Arjen Robben put Chelsea ahead before William Gallas headed home from close range and Tiago slotted in a fourth to seal the points.

A three-goal margin of victory was no more than Chelsea deserved.

The in-form Robben terrorised the Fulham defenders early on and only lacklustre finishing prevented Chelsea taking an early lead.

Robben was twice denied by keeper Mark Crossley, who appeared set to continue in the same manner which frustrated Newcastle last week.

He was helped by a misfiring Chelsea attack as Eidur Gudjohsen missed a simple chance and then even Blues defender John Terry got in on the act.

The England centre-half ran from inside his own half but flicked his shot wide with only Crossley to beat.

Chelsea took the lead they deserved when Lampard's 25-yard free-kick proved too good for Crossley.

Andy Cole and Tomasz Radzinski had both gone close early on for Fulham, but the home side faded and came under increasing pressure.

Zesh Rehman appeared to handle Lampard's goalbound shot and then the Blues midfielder had another strong penalty claim turned down when he was felled by Moritz Volz.

To make matters worse for Lampard, he was booked for diving.

After the break, a revitalised Fulham pushed for an unlikely equaliser and it came from a very unlikely source.

Diop's first goal for Fulham was as good a strike as seen anywhere in the Premiership this season, as he arrowed a 30-yard volley into the bottom corner.

There was hardly time for Diop and his team-mates to celebrate though as Chelsea quickly restored their advantage.

A breathtaking moment of skill from Robben saw him leave three defenders trailing and then drill a low shot past Crossley for his fourth goal in four games.

Chelsea's second goal seemed to extinguish Fulham's fight, and with Robben seeming unstoppable and Lampard commanding the midfield it appeared a matter of time before Chelsea scored again.

And Fulham contributed to the goal when it came, with Diop this time suffering a moment to forget.

He swung and missed Lampard's cross and Gallas nodded in from six yards.

Eight minutes later, substitute Tiago wrapped up the win when he drilled home a right-footed shot after a superb one-two with Robben.


Fulham: Crossley, Volz, Knight, Rehman, Bocanegra, Malbranque, Pembridge (McBride 72), Diop, Boa Morte, Radzinski, Cole. Subs Not Used: Van der Sar, Legwinski, Hammond, Rosenior.

Goal: Diop 57.

Chelsea: Cech, Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, Terry, Gallas, Smertin (Tiago 63), Makelele, Lampard, Duff (Kezman 76), Robben, Gudjohnsen (Huth 83). Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Bridge.

Booked: Makelele, Lampard.

Goals: Lampard 33, Robben 59, Gallas 73, Tiago 81.

Att: 21,877

Ref: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).


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