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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 September 2006, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Fulham 0-2 Chelsea
By Dan Warren

Frank Lampard
Lampard's brace won the game for Chelsea
Frank Lampard scored both goals to give Chelsea a hard-earned win against a well-organised Fulham side.

Chelsea's Arjen Robben hit the bar in the first half, but the Cottagers should have gone ahead when Papa Bouba Diop put a header wide on 63 minutes.

Ten minutes later, Lampard slammed home a penalty when Liam Rosenior handled under pressure from Salomon Kalou.

And as Fulham pressed for an equaliser, Lampard scored with a low shot from 18 yards after Didier Drogba's pass.

It was tough on Fulham who looked set to earn a point after a display full of endeavour and commitment.

Indeed, Chris Coleman's side may have taken a first-half lead had Wayne Routledge's early effort been slightly wider of Petr Cech - instead the Blues goalkeeper was able to parry.

As the half wore on, the champions looked more dangerous and were desperately unlucky not to score on 25 minutes.

Robben's left-foot screamer had Antti Niemi completely beaten and the Dutchman was only foiled by the underside of the bar.

But that effort aside, Chelsea only threatened rarely with Michael Essien seeing a shot saved by Niemi, while Drogba was denied by a tackle from Rosenior.

Fulham were reinvigorated by the interval and Michael Brown felt he should have been awarded a penalty on 55 minutes after being impeded by Cech.

Referee Mark Halsey ruled that Brown had committed the first offence by lunging for a loose ball and colliding with the Chelsea keeper.

Still Fulham pressed and Bouba Diop should have done much better on 63 minutes when his free header from Franck Queudrue's free-kick from the right was diverted wide

Chelsea nearly made them pay moments later as they fashioned a a trio of chances in a matter of seconds.

Kalou's shot was blocked by Ian Pearce, Andriy Shevchenko's follow-up was parried by Niemi, and Drogba hammered the loose ball into the ground, only to see it bounce up, hit the angle of post and bar and go over.

Soon after, on 73 minutes, Chelsea took the lead and it was Rosenior who was to blame - which was tough on the youngster, who had been excellent up to that point.

The Fulham defender lost his balance as Kalou broke into the box and sent the ball behind the goalline with his arm.

Lampard had been reinstated as penalty taker with Germany captain Michael Ballack suspended, and he showed no sign of the nerves which had blighted his recent penalty attempts, slamming the ball into the roof of the net.

Fulham decided to attack and, inevitably, Chelsea made them pay as Lampard grabbed his second seven minutes later.

The England midfielder collected Drogba's lay-off and hammered an impeccable low shot into the corner.

And Fulham's Brown was fortunate referee Halsey did not see his two-footed lunge on Ashley Cole as tempers boiled over late on.

  • Fulham boss Chris Coleman on referee Mark Halsey's display:
    "I don't know what's wrong with Mark.

    "Every time he comes we play Arsenal, Chelsea, big teams. We know there's pressure on and he has to referee the game as he sees it.

    "There's results in one box and there's different results the other. That's not to take anything away from Chelsea."

  • Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho:
    "I'm very happy with the three points, but very, very happy with the performance. I think we played very well in a very difficult game.

    "Fulham are a good team and against Chelsea they are better than they really are. We played very well.

    "Paulo Ferreira for me is man of the match by far, as he is not a central defender and played fantastically."

    Fulham: Niemi, Rosenior, Knight, Pearce, Queudrue, Volz, Bocanegra (Helguson 77), Diop, Routledge, Brown, John (McBride 77).
    Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Radzinski, Claus Jensen.

    Booked: Volz, Queudrue.

    Chelsea: Cech, Geremi, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira, Ashley Cole, Makelele, Essien, Lampard (Bridge 90), Robben (Kalou 57), Drogba, Shevchenko (Mikel 76).
    Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Wright-Phillips.

    Booked: Ricardo Carvalho.

    Goals: Lampard 73 pen, 80.

    Att: 24,290

    Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire).


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