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Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 16:57 UK

Man City 0-2 Chelsea

By Chris Bevan

Michael Essien congratulates Salomon Kalou after he scores Chelsea's second goal
Kalou and Essien celebrate Chelsea's second goal

Chelsea saw off Manchester City to move to within two points of Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Avram Grant's side were gifted the lead when Richard Dunne diverted Nicolas Anelka's cross into his own net.

City responded by creating a succession of good chances and Carlo Cudicini did well to keep out Martin Petrov's shot.

But Salomon Kalou rounded Joe Hart and slotted home to give Chelsea breathing space, and only two superb Hart saves stopped Anelka adding to their tally.

It was a vital win for Chelsea and means they maintain the pressure on United, who travel to play Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Grant was in charge when Chelsea thumped City 6-0 at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season and the way they began this game suggested they would enjoy another walk in the park.

The visitors were well on top even before Dunne diverted Anelka's cross past Hart while trying to prevent it from reaching Michael Essien.

Only a superb saving tackle by Nedum Onuoha stopped Anelka when he broke free again minutes later as Grant's side continued to press.

Things looked ominous for City, who have gone off the boil badly in recent weeks and have only won three of their last 15 league games.

But they responded well and with better finishing could have been level by the break.

Petrov rattled one shot wide and Michael Johnson skied a volley when well placed.

City went even closer when Benjani pulled the ball back for Stephen Ireland, who saw his goalbound shot cannon over off Juliano Belletti's leg.

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And it took a superb save from Cudicini to tip over out Petrov's next effort - which was heading for the top corner - before Ashley Cole had to clear Johnson's deflected shot off the line.

Chelsea were still looking dangerous on the break and only another superb Onuoha tackle stopped Anelka when he found more space in the area.

But it was not until Kalou scored their second goal that they looked at all comfortable with the lead.

Essien was involved again in the build-up, with his pass deflecting off the luckless Dunne and into the path of the Ivory Coast striker, who finished with aplomb.

That ended City's hopes of getting anything from the game and if not for Hart they would have suffered an even heavier defeat.

The England Under-21 star did well to deny Anelka in a one-on-one situation when he ran through seconds after Kalou had scored.

And Hart made an even better stop when he tipped the Frenchman's header on to the bar before recovering to paw away the rebound.

Chelsea can head into the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Fenerbahce on Tuesday with renewed confidence.

But City's slump continues and a serious-looking injury to Onuoha, who was stretchered off in pain before the end, added to what was a frustrating afternoon for their manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.


  • Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson:
    "When you lose like we did you cannot criticise the team. They tried and that is what you want to see.

    "We had too much respect for Chelsea in the first few minutes but when they scored we came back into the game.

    "We started the second half well too but when they scored their second goal it became very difficult for us."

  • Chelsea manager Avram Grant:
    "Sven-Goran Eriksson is a very clever manager. We knew it would not be easy and it wasn't.

    "But we won and we played well, especially in the second half, so we are very happy with how things went.

    "We started very well and created a lot of chances but City came back into the game in the first half. We had to keep our concentration and we did that."


    Man City: Hart, Corluka, Dunne, Onuoha (Jihai 59), Ball, Ireland (Caicedo 75), Gelson, Johnson, Petrov, Elano (Vassell 65), Mwaruwari.
    Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Hamann.

    Booked: Gelson.

    Chelsea: Cudicini, Belletti (Ferreira 86), Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Essien, Obi, Lampard, Wright-Phillips (Joe Cole 52), Anelka, Kalou.
    Subs Not Used: Hilario, Shevchenko, Ballack.

    Goals: Dunne 6 og, Kalou 53.

    Att: 42,594

    Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).


    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Nicolas Anelka 7.50 (on 90 minutes).

    Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




    see also
    Saturday's football photos
    05 Apr 08 |  Football
    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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