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Page last updated at 20:52 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 21:52 UK

Chelsea 1-0 Roma

By Ian Hughes

John Terry
Terry made a telling contribution as Chelsea stuttered to victory

John Terry's second-half header finally broke Roma's stubborn resistance as Chelsea moved three points clear at the top of Champions League group A.

The Blues, who lacked fluency and rhythm, almost took the lead when Frank Lampard's free-kick clipped the post.

Roma's best chance came when Francesco Totti played in Matteo Brighi but Terry blocked as the striker went to shoot.

And it took Terry's intervention at the other end, when he nodded in Lampard's corner, to secure the win for Chelsea.

The hosts' performance was a far cry from the attacking brilliance that subjected Middlesbrough to a hammering at the weekend.

But with Roma determined to stifle the game, Chelsea keeper Peter Cech and centre-back Ricardo Carvalho both had a gentle re-introduction to the first team on their return from injury.


Deco, the other change to Luiz Felipe Scolari's line-up , had a more frustrating evening as he struggled to find a way through the visitors.

It was a theme running through the Blues' ranks, as time after time Roma's blanket defence suffocated their attacks.

And when Chelsea carved half-chances, Lampard volleyed weakly and Salomon Kalou scuffed a shot.

In between those efforts, Lampard had connected superbly after Deco rolled a free-kick into his path, but the midfielder's shot bounced off the apex of the goal.

Roma's intentions were clear - particularly as they had no out-and-out striker in their line-up - but in skipper Totti they had a source of invention.

The Italian forward produced a superb turn and precise through ball to release Brighi, but Terry recovered well to make the tackle.

That was a rare break from Roma, who continued to invite Chelsea on and were relieved when Lampard shot wide after Deco's flick had earned some space.

Chelsea's torment was increased when they were denied a clear free-kick on the edge of the box when Deco was clattered.

The introduction of Juliano Belletti at the start of the second half added little thrust to Chelsea's play.

And when the Brazilian tried to repeat his 35-yard wonder goal from Saturday, he was woefully off target.

Kalou had an easier chance, when picked out by Lampard's free-kick, and should have done better than to head straight at keeper Doni.

When Jon Mikel Obi's shot took a deflection and looped wide, it was starting to seem as though Roma might take a point from the match.

That was until Terry rose highest at the near post to glance in a header and take his side to the brink of qualification from the group.

Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari:
"The most important thing today was our result.

"We have one more game at home and we needed three points tonight. Sometimes 1-0 is more important than 5-0 because you have to respect the other team.

"When I was with Portugal, we played against England and I was afraid when Terry came into my area at corner kicks.

"I told my players that this player is very decisive and we need to look for him. If he touches the ball it is dangerous for us. Now I am here, I say to Terry to do the same."

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Terry, Carvalho, Bridge, Kalou (Di Santo 77), Lampard, Mikel, Malouda (Belletti 46), Deco, Anelka (Ferreira 90).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Ivanovic, Alex, Stoch.

Booked: Malouda, Terry.

Goals: Terry 78.

Roma: Doni, Cicinho, Panucci, Mexes, Riise (Tonetto 82), De Rossi, Brighi, Aquilani (Perrotta 60), Taddei (Menez 81), Totti, Vucinic.
Subs Not Used: Artur, Loria, Montella, Okaka Chuka.

Booked: Mexes, Panucci.

Att: 41,002

Ref: Kyros Vassaras (Greece).

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see also
Champions League as it happened
22 Oct 08 |  Europe
Champions League photos
22 Oct 08 |  Football
Riise hopes to thrive with Roma
21 Oct 08 |  Europe

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