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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

 

Stunning late Drogba strike keeps Chelsea's title bid alive

Didier Drogba smashed a spectacular 87th minute winner as Chelsea twice came from behind to keep their title hopes alive with a 3-2 win over Everton at Goodison Park.

Chelsea, five points behind Premiership leaders Manchester United at the start of the day, looked to be heading for a devastating defeat when Joseph Yobo headed the hosts into a 2-1 lead in the 64 minute.

But a stunning late rally saw Mourinho's side draw level through Frank Lampard in the 82nd minute before Drogba's 35-yard cracker - his 16th of the season - sealed the points.

Despite crashing out of the Champions League semi-final at Anfield in 2005, Merseyside has been a happy hunting ground for Mourinho's men in terms of points. Indeed, Chelsea had pocketed 10 points out of 12 from four previous league visits to the county under Mourinho, the only blip coming in the corresponding fixture at Goodison Park last season when they held to a 1-1 draw.

Chelsea were without influential captain John Terry who was ruled out with a back problem while Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko started on the bench after finding the net just three times in the Premiership since moving from Italy.

Shevchenko is not the only striker to have suffered this season. Everton's former England marksman James Beattie has also struggled for form and goals and was left out as Moyes handed 18-year-old Nigerian Victor Anichebe his first league start.

Despite his tender years, Anichebe played with the confidence of an experienced top-flight striker as he posed Chelsea's usually solid defence constant problems.

Mourinho's side started slowly and looked a shadow of the side chasing a third league title.

They produced a disjointed performance in a first half in which they failed to test Everton keeper Tim Howard. Mourinho appeared more interested in arguing with the match officials than bridging the gap at the summit.

The former Porto boss had to be restrained by the fourth official when Andy Johnson went down in the box in the 17th minute following a challenge from Khalid Boulahrouz. Mourinho was convinced the Everton striker had dived although television replays suggested there had been slight contact.

But Mourinho could have few complaints when Boulahrouz manhandled Anichebe to the ground eight minutes before the interval after the busy Johnson had%2

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