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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 March, 2005, 19:09 GMT
Norwich 1-3 Chelsea
Mateja Kezman
Chelsea made the most of Manchester United's earlier draw to extend their lead at the top of the Premiership with a comfortable win at Norwich.

Joe Cole grabbed the opener, riding a couple of fierce tackles before driving home a rasping shot.

Leon McKenzie then gave Norwich a lifeline on the hour, heading in Darren Huckerby's penetrating cross.

But substitute Mateja Kezman restored their lead with a tap-in and Ricardo Carvalho sealed the win with a header.

With the Carling Cup safely bagged last weekend, Chelsea turned their attentions back to the matter of lifting the Premiership title as they moved eight points clear with a game in hand at Carrow Road.

Jose Mourinho's side, perhaps buoyed by the fact that second-placed Manchester United could only muster a 0-0 draw against 10-man Crystal Palace earlier on Saturday, wasted no time getting stuck into Norwich.

Just eight minutes in, centre-back Jason Shackell did well to keep the home side on level terms when he headed Damien Duff's shot off the line.

But with Norwich looking increasingly penned in, Cole finally rewarded Chelsea's dominance midway through the first half.

Latching onto a long pass down the middle from Claude Makelele, the 23-year-old surged forward and overcame fierce challenges from Jason Shackell and Craig Fleming before unleashing a shot into the top left-hand corner.

Cole nearly doubled their lead minutes later but was hindered by some shirt-pulling from Shackell, though the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge.

At the other end, Norwich's opportunites were few before the break with McKenzie and Dean Ashton failing to convert half-chances.

Despite facing mission impossible against the champions-elect, there was no rallying cry from Delia Smith at half-time.

And Norwich appeared not to need it in the 60th minute as McKenzie rose magnificently to connect with Huckerby's cross and end goalkeeper Petr Cech's hopes of 11 successive clean sheets in the Premiership.

Mourinho responded in trademark fashion with a double subsitution - Cardoso Tiago and Didier Drogba replaced by Kezman and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Damien francis caused another shudder in the Chelsea ranks when his header was denied by a brilliant save from Petr Cech.

But two minutes later, City's bubble was burst when Glen Johnson, Cole, Gudjohnsen and Frank Lampard all combined, giving Kezman a simple tap-in from a yard to restore Chelsea's lead.

Carvalho then sealed the victory with his first goal for the club, heading home Lampard's inswinging corner.

  • Norwich boss Nigel Worthington
    "We have achieved something that a lot of teams have not done against the league leaders and that is to score.

    "I give a lot of credit to my players because they worked very hard and they gave of their best as they have done week in week out.

    "Even When we were 1-0 down we kept our shape and came back well."

    Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho:
    "I think we forgot a little bit to kill the game.

    "In the second half, they put pressure on us and their goal was a great goal in the air.

    "But after that, the good thing was our mental reaction. The team was fantastic, the way they reacted and turned the game around.

    "I think we're living a good moment - we have the Cup, we have a good distance to control in the Premiership, but of course we know we can drop some points."

    Norwich: Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Shackell, Drury, Stuart (McVeigh 75), Holt, Francis, Huckerby, McKenzie (Henderson 90), Ashton.
    Subs Not Used: Safri, Charlton, Ward.

    Booked: Drury.

    Goals: McKenzie 64.

    Chelsea: Cech, Johnson, Ricardo Carvalho, Terry, Paulo Ferreira, Makelele, Lampard, Tiago (Kezman 67), Cole, Drogba (Gudjohnsen 67), Duff (Jarosik 73).
    Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Huth.

    Booked: Cole, Makelele.

    Goals: Cole 22, Kezman 71, Ricardo Carvalho 79.

    Att: 24,506

    Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire).

    Interview: Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho

    Interview: Norwich boss Nigel Worthington

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