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Premier League

  • December 14, 2013
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 41608

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace: Ramires winner holds off brave Eagles

Marouane Chamakh continued his good form by canceling out Fernando Torres' opener but, despite Tony Pulis's side having several more chances, the Blues secured three points

Chelsea moved up to second in the Premier League with a 2-1 London derby victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho backed his misfiring strikers ahead of Saturday's game and Fernando Torres responded by scoring his first goal since October to put Chelsea in front.

In-form Palace striker Marouane Chamakh scored his third goal in as many games to equalize, but Ramires notched his first Premier League goal of the season with a fine strike to restore Chelsea's advantage before halftime.

Palace has been resurgent under new manager Tony Pulis and had chances to get something out of the game, but Chelsea held on to secure a seventh win out of eight home games in the top flight and close the gap on leader Arsenal to two points.

Defeat for Palace ensured it remains in the relegation zone, but Pulis will take plenty of heart from his team's display.

Petr Cech replaced veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer as Mourinho made six changes to the Chelsea side that beat Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday night.

Crystal Palace left back Dean Moxey (hamstring) was ruled out, so Adrian Mariappa came into the starting lineup.

Chelsea enjoyed plenty of possession early on and was in front after 16 minutes, when Willian's shot from 20 yards out was tipped onto the post by Julian Speroni and Torres reacted quickly to pounce from close range.

Palace responded and was level after 29 minutes when Chamakh produced a fine left-foot finish to guide home Joel Ward's cross.

Eden Hazard was a constant menace to the Palace defense and the winger cut in from the left to set up Ramires, who let fly from 20 yards out to put Chelsea back in front with a venomous right-foot strike 10 minutes before halftime.

Chelsea made a bright start to the second half and Willian raced away down the left then picked out Juan Mata four minutes after the break, but the Spain midfielder scuffed his left-foot shot wide.

Palace was posing problems for the Chelsea defense and Jason Puncheon produced some trickery to fashion a chance for himself, but Cech got down well to save the winger's right-foot strike.

Yannick Bolasie spurned a chance to equalize when he headed over the crossbar from 10 yards out, then Damian Delaney also headed over as Chelsea lived dangerously.

Palace came close again later in the half when Stuart O'Keefe was thwarted by a goal-line clearance from Terry and Ivanovic produced some desperate defending to deny the substitute from the rebound.

Ramires should have made sure of it five minutes from time, but he fluffed his lines and Speroni gathered. Speroni then made a final double save to deny Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba in a hectic finale.

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