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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 April 2007, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Chelsea 1-0 Tottenham
By Saj Chowdhury

Ricardo Carvalho
Carvalho's strike proved enough
Chelsea closed the gap on Premiership leaders Manchester United to three points after Ricardo Carvalho's strike gave them victory over Tottenham.

The defender made a rare venture into the Spurs half and fired a low 30-yard drive past the reach of Paul Robinson.

Frank Lampard had a volley blocked by Michael Dawson, while Salomon Kalou wasted a 12-yard shot for the Blues.

Spurs' best chances came from strikers Mido and Dimitar Berbatov, who both had headers tipped over by Petr Cech.

Neither team played at 100%, which was not a huge surprise considering the Premiership fixture was sandwiched between the two sides' respective European ties.

And with Thursday's return leg against Sevilla in mind, Spurs boss Martin Jol chose to leave out five key players from the starting XI, including Dimitar Berbatov, Aaron Lennon and Robbie Keane.


But by choosing to sacrifice the creative force, Spurs produced very little threat for much of a game. A 'second string' Chelsea, which on paper looked just as strong as the first team, dominated.

The Blues, in with a shout of winning a unique quadruple, did not let the new-look Spurs settle during the match, with Claude Makelele forever snapping at the heels of his opposing midfielders.

Up front, Mido and Jermain Defoe, who have not played many games of late, looked rusty for Tottenham and were well shackled by Carvalho and skipper John Terry.

Mido, who is unlikely to feature in Jol's squad next season, almost made amends for his largely lackadaisical first-half efforts by giving Spurs a surprise lead after the break - but his bullet header from six yards was brilliantly tipped over by Cech.

Just a few minutes later, Chelsea went ahead through an unlikely source when defender Carvalho, who had a shot saved in the first half, rifled in a 30-yard angled shot from the right.

It was a deserved reward for the home side, who posed more problems in the Spurs area, with Lampard's volley blocked by Michael Dawson and Wright-Phillips just missing with a fizzing drive earlier in the game.

Kalou should have given his side a little bit more daylight following Carvalho's goal but failed to get a good connection on Didier Drogba's square pass from 12 yards, allowing Robinson to scoop the ball away.

Spurs upped their tempo and 17-year-old substitute Adel Taarabt came close to bringing the scores level with almost his first touch but his low 20-yard shot was tipped away by the alert Cech.

Jol then added Berbatov to the proceedings and the Bulgarian almost gave the travelling fans some cheer, only to see his powerful header tipped over by Cech once again.

Tottenham kept pressing but Chelsea doggedly hung on to their 1-0 lead, as they have done so many times this season, to keep the heat on leaders United.

  • Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho:
    "We were better in the first half and should have scored goals.

    "We scored in the second half and Salomon Kalou had an easy chance to make it 2-0 and after that Tottenham came into the game and played well.

    "They had a great shot and header but Petr Cech was there to give us the security we need. We deserved the win."

  • Spurs assistant manager Chris Hughton:
    "We always felt we were very much in the game.

    "There is no doubt that the schedule had an effect. How you gauge that effect though is almost impossible.

    "We certainly would have been grateful and happy with the extra day with regards to our preparation."

    Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Bridge, Makelele, Lampard, Mikel (Joe Cole 83), Drogba, Wright-Phillips (Ballack 71), Kalou (Shevchenko 74).
    Subs Not Used: Hilario, Diarra.

    Booked: Drogba, Joe Cole.

    Goals: Carvalho 52.

    Tottenham: Robinson, Stalteri, Dawson, Rocha, Chimbonda, Jenas (Zokora 81), Tainio (Taarabt 64), Ghaly, Malbranque, Mido (Berbatov 69), Defoe.
    Subs Not Used: Cerny, Ifil.

    Booked: Ghaly.

    Att: 41,864

    Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).

    Premiership clockwatch
    07 Apr 07 |  Premiership
    Saturday's Premiership photos
    07 Apr 07 |  Football


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