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Premier League

  • 9 April 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 25697

Fulham 1-1 Chelsea: Dempsey nets late equaliser as Blues drop points in top-four pursuit

Fulham 1-1 Chelsea: Dempsey nets late equaliser as Blues drop points in top-four pursuit

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The visitors looked to have earned the bragging rights from a hard-fought derby through a Frank Lampard penalty before the American headed home to steal a point

Chelsea failed to keep the heat on Tottenham in the race for a top-four finish as they were held to a 1-1 draw with west London rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage on Monday night.

An end-to-end affair failed to produce any clear-cut chances for much of the first half, yet the Blues entered the break a goal to the good after Frank Lampard slotted home a penalty following Stephen Kelly’s challenge on Salomon Kalou.

Despite a bright start after the interval, the visitors found themselves pegged back for much of the second half, and Martin Jol’s men eventually found the equaliser after Clint Dempsey’s glancing header found the corner of the net.

Jol made just two changes to the side which triumphed over Bolton on Saturday. With Bryan Ruiz set to miss the remainder of the season after suffering a broken metatarsal in the win over the Trotters, Kerim Frei made only his ninth league appearance of the season.




At times looked isolated up top but was able to bring his supporting cast into play very well. Stabbed at Cech when he could have maybe fired in when the game was 0-0. Always proved elusive and a handful throughout before powering home a deserved equaliser.

Meanwhile, Danny Murphy was restored to the starting XI after overcoming illness, with Alex Kacaniklic dropping to the bench.

With upcoming FA Cup and Champions League semi-finals in mind, Roberto Di Matteo made six changes to the side which beat Wigan at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Lampard, John Terry and Ramires all recovered from knocks to replace David Luiz, Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge.

Meanwhile, John Obi Mikel and Kalou started ahead of Michael Essien and Florent Malouda, and Fernando Torres was given the nod ahead of Didier Drogba.

A rain-soaked Craven Cottage was treated to an equally damp opening, as neither side managed to create any telling opportunities early on.

As the game wore on it was the visitors who began to take control, yet they were reduced to long-range efforts with Mikel, Kalou and Raul Meireles failing to test Mark Schwarzer.

The warning shots sparked the home side into action, and Petr Cech had to be at his best to deny Clint Dempsey and then the lively Kerim Frei.

A real ding-dong derby ensued, with the damp conditions lending themselves to counter-attacking football, and it was the visitors who were granted a glorious opportunity to take the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Following some good footwork from Kalou, Kelly appeared to slightly clip the heels of the Ivorian forward, with the eagle-eyed Mark Clattenburg instantly pointing to the penalty spot.

Lampard stepped up and emphatically slotted his spot-kick into Schwarzer’s bottom right-hand corner, notching his 150th Premier League goal and handing the Blues a potentially crucial half-time lead.

The visitors made a bright start to the second half, with Lampard firing narrowly wide of Schwarzer’s right-hand post before coming within inches of latching onto Ryan Bertrand’s teasing cross.

Chelsea are 25/1 with Paddy Power to win both the FA Cup and Champions League this season

Despite Chelsea's dominance, Frei continued to pull the strings for Martin Jol’s men, and it was his intelligent ball which set John Arne Riise away down the Fulham left.

The former Liverpool man opened up his body before striking the ball with the outside of his boot, yet his effort glided just inches wide of Cech’s far post.

With the home side beginning to take control of the game, Di Matteo introduced the ever-creative Mata in an attempt to find a second goal, yet the Cottagers continued to press with widemen Frei and Damien Duff looking increasingly dangerous.

Fulham were also looking dangerous from set-pieces and Aaron Hughes brought a stunning save from Cech, after he had eluded the Chelsea back-line, before the home side’s pressure eventually told from the resulting corner.

More lacklustre Chelsea defending saw Dempsey find himself free in the area, and the American’s glancing header found the corner of the net after a slight touch from Gary Cahill.

The draw sees Chelsea move within two points of the final Champions League place as Fulham go level on points with Liverpool in ninth.

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