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Fulham 0-3 Chelsea Prem33 Daily Star

last updated Thursday 18th April 2013, 9:22 PM
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Adrian Kajumba at Daily Star

Fulham (0) 0 Chelsea (2) 3

David Luiz and John Terry took centre stage to fire Chelsea into third place in the race for Champions League football.

Luiz bagged a goal of the season contender before two Terry headers clinched a vital west London derby win for the Blues.

Chelsea's first away league win since mid-January lifted them to third in the table and keeps them on course for the top four finish that will go some way to salvaging their season.

It was a comfortable win in the end for Rafa Benitez's men, who took advantage of the draw between Arsenal and Everton 24 hour earlier.

But they had a real battle on their hands before Luiz marked his 100th Chelsea appearancewith an absolute stunner.

He stole the show on his first Chelsea start at Fulham two years ago when he put in a man-of-the-match display, despite conceding a late penalty.

And it proved a happy hunting ground again last night when he fired a jaw-dropping 35-yard thunderbolt past a helpless Mark Schwarzer.

Captain Terry, recalled along with Frank Lampard, was not to be outshone by his centre-back partner and added a rare double.

He made it 2-0 before half-time with a far post header before applying the final touch to Fernando Torres' flick to make it 3-0 in the 71st minute.

But despite the scoreline it wasn't vintage Blues.

It rarely has been under Benitez and as last night was their 60th game of a punishing season it was hardly surprising.

But Chelsea's season has reached the point where it is not performances that matter but results.

After the chance of FA Cup glory disappeared on Sunday against Manchester City, regaining a Champions League place is one of only two things the Blues have left to play for - along with the Europa League.

So with their top four target in mind it was a simple case of job done.

But they had to weather a confident start from fired-up Fulham before they took control.

With Dimitar Berbatov pulling the strings early on for Fulham, Bryan Ruiz came close with a lunging volley from Sascha Riether's cross and Giorgos Karagounis thumped a drive just over the bar.

At that point Chelsea were lucky to still have 11 men on the pitch.

Referee Mike Dean let Branislav Ivanovic off with a yellow after he launched himself into a needless twofooted challenge on Mladen Petric, perhaps realising he actually touched the ball.

Fulham threatened again but John Arne Riise's shot from Ruiz's cutback was tame and straight at Petr Cech - before Luiz showed how it should be done.

He had little else on after receiving Eden Hazard's pass midway inside the Fulham half so tried his luck and found the top corner with a stunning strike that dipped and swerved past Schwarzer.

Given the fact Luiz was once accused of playing like he is controlled by a 10-year-old on a Playstation, it was ironic that his strike was the sort of fantasy goal that wouldn't look out of place on a computer game.

Urby Emanuelson and the impressive Berbatov both came close to scoring what would have been a deserved Fulham equaliser.

Instead they ended up falling further behind two minutes before half-time.

Fulham looked to have escaped when Schwarzer awkwardly bundled Lampard's dipping freekick behind.

But the Cottagers failed to properly clear their lines from the resultant corner and Terry crept in behind the sleeping Phillipe Senderos to nod in Juan Mata's deep cross.

Petric looked to have blown a great chance to give Fulham a lifeline when he scooped the ball over the bar from a yard out.

He was relieved, then, to turn around and see the assistant's flag up to spare him some embarrassment.

But there was no escape for Fulham when Terry nodded the ball in from close range to seal the win and take Chelsea three points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham.

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