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Fulham draw with Chelsea and miss penalty

last updated Monday 14th February 2011, 11:28 PM
Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey
Fulham midfielder
Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey
Petr Cech saved a stoppage-time penalty by Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey to spare Chelsea a west London derby defeat at Fulham as Carlo Ancelotti's decision to drop Didier Drogba failed to pay off.

Cech guessed correctly to parry Clint Dempsey's 93rd-minute spot-kick after another game to forget for new £50million Blues striker Fernando Torres.

Torres missed four chances either side of half-time as champions Chelsea failed to climb back into the Premier League top four.

Manager Ancelotti axed Drogba after he and Torres failed to ignite in the previous weekend's surprise defeat to Liverpool.

They were almost caught out again in the opening six minutes tonight by a low Damien Duff cross but David Luiz - making his full debut - read the danger to beat Andy Johnson to the ball.

Match Stats Fulham Chelsea
Goals 0 0
Possession 37% 63%
Goal attempts 13 25
On Target 5 3
Passing Success 72.2% 82.9%
Tackles 32 22
Tackles Success 62.5% 68.2%
Corners 4 6
Off-sides 1 3
Saves 3 5
Fouls 11 13
Yellows 2 1
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet/SkySports
John Terry was thwarted by good pressure attempting to head Branislav Ivanovic's cross goalward, while there was also more than one blocked effort from the visitors.

Torres, though, was once more struggling to make an impact, with some of his many mistakes greeted by chants of 'What a waste of money' from the Fulham fans.

The in-form Duff surprised Cech in the 24th minute with a 30-yard effort the goalkeeper could only punch clear - the first save of any note.

Fulham boss Mark Hughes claimed Dempsey's penalty should have been retaken, suggesting referee Mike Dean knew as much.
Frank Lampard should have at least forced a second four minutes later when Chelsea's best move of the first half saw him sweep Ivanovic's low cross over the bar.

The latter was providing the only real width for the champions, whose next cross almost caught out a back-pedalling Mark Schwarzer moments after Florent Malouda's rising 25-yard attempt sailed just over.

Terry produced a vital glancing header at the other end before Ivanovic became the first player booked for tugging Moussa Dembele's shirt on the edge of - and arguably inside - the box.

Steve Sidwell soon followed for an ugly thigh-high lunge on Michael Essien.

With seconds of the half remaining, Torres saw two great chances to open his Chelsea account go begging, the first with the weakest of finishes after a strong run.

The second was gilt-edged, with the Spaniard's attempt to gather Luiz's glorious long ball simply horrible.

Ancelotti resisted the urge to turn to Drogba during the interval but Torres soon gave him cause to rue that decision by heading Ramires' pinpoint cross off target.

Chelsea wasted another opportunity when they took an indirect free-kick too quickly after Schwarzer picked up a Danny Murphy backpass.

And Torres' misery deepened when he curled high and wide after being released by a fine Lampard pass.

Supportive chants from the visiting fans rained down on the misfiring Spaniard, but to no avail.

Torres was completely outshone by fellow new boy Luiz, with the 23-year-old by far the best player on the pitch as Chelsea began to dominate without finding the breakthrough.

Ancelotti made a change with 25 minutes remaining, rubbing salt into Drogba's wounds by sending on Salomon Kalou for Nicolas Anelka.

Malouda failed to capitalise on an inch-perfect Ashley Cole ball as Fulham held firm going into the final 20 minutes.

Luiz should have capped his performance with a goal when the Brazilian rose completely unmarked to nod Malouda's corner over the top moments before Drogba finally replaced Torres.

Fulham then became even more compact, bringing on Simon Davies for Johnson as Chelsea began to be restricted again to long-range efforts.

But Essien should have given them a 77th-minute lead when he mistimed his diving header from Lampard's dangerous cross and Drogba showed what Chelsea had been missing with a barnstorming run down the left and a ball his team-mates should have anticipated.

Dempsey almost made Chelsea pay when he pounced on a Terry error only to see his shot beaten away by Cech.

Fulham ran down the clock by introducing Eidur Gudjohnsen and Zoltan Gera for Murphy and Dembele before an jaw-dropping overhead-kick cross from Luiz was headed over by Kalou.

The changes revitalised the hosts and Davies glanced a cross from Gera - who was booked in stoppage time - over the top.

In the third and final minute of added time, Luiz was adjudged to have tripped Dempsey in the box.

The American blasted the resulting penalty goalward but Cech saved and Dempsey scissor-kicked the rebound over the top.

Chelsea hero Petr Cech earned a point for his side with an injury-time penalty save before conceding the goalless draw at Craven Cottage is probably not enough to save their Premier League title defence.

"We were chasing the game and tried to get the winning goal," Cech told Sky Sports 1. "I think in the last few minutes the game was absolutely broken. It was up-and-down stuff and anybody could have got a goal. So in the end we're happy to go with the point because when you concede a penalty in the last minute, anything can happen.

"I think it was a good performance, very solid, it's just a pity that in the final third we missed a bit to score."

However, the goalkeeper admitted: "For the title, this point is too little. Mathematically it's not over, but obviously we are quite far (off) now because they (our rivals) won their games and we lost two points tonight. But there is a long way to go."

Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti concurred with Cech about his side's title defence.

"It's very difficult," he said. "Obviously we have to try to do our best, game-by-game. We played a good game tonight and deserved to win. This is football."

He told Sky Sports 1: I think he has to work with the team, he has the chance. He has to know our kind of play, I think his performance for 60 minutes was good. He had two opportunities to score and was not lucky. He was better compared to his last performance against Liverpool."

Fulham boss Mark Hughes was angered by Chelsea striker Didier Drogba's encroachment into the area for Dempsey's penalty, and referee Mike Dean's decision not to let the American take the kick again.

"We're a little bit aggrieved because obviously there's interference in the box and Mike Dean can see it very clearly there," said Hughes. "Drogba actually had to stop his run or he would have gone past the ball I think, at one point. So Mike Dean has got to call it back and let the boy re-take it. But there you go.

"There's encroachment in the box and it's clear that Drogba is in the eyeline. There's a shadow that goes across the pitch that obviously Clint would have been aware of."

Fulham Schwarzer, Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Salcido, Duff,Sidwell, Murphy (Gera 83), Dempsey, Johnson (Davies 74),Dembele (Gudjohnsen 83).
Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Kelly, Pantsil, Greening.

Booked: Sidwell(43,f), Gera (90,f).

Chelsea Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires,Essien, Lampard, Anelka (Kalou 65), Torres (Drogba 71), Malouda.
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Mikel, Ferreira, McEachran, Sala.

Booked: Ivanovic.

Att: 25,685

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

Source ESPNStar
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