Late goal earns Chelsea win over Everton

Chelsea 1 Everton 0

Chelsea grabbed a priceless injury-time winner to maintain their incredible home run under Jose Mourinho and send them four points clear in the Premier League title race.

Frank Lampard’s free-kick, in the third of five added-on minutes, was turned into his own net by Everton keeper Tim Howard under pressure from fit-again Chelsea skipper John Terry.

Earlier, Howard had produced some magnificent saves to keep Chelsea at bay, including a remarkable double stop to keep out first Eden Hazard and then Branislav Ivanovic.

Leon Osman twice forced good saves from Chelsea keeper Petr Cech but Everton generally lacked an end product in the final third.

Chelsea had begun the game brightly but failed to capitalise, with Willian dragging wide, and Everton gradually asserted control of the midfield.

But for all their possession and probing down the flanks, Roberto Martinez’s side tested Cech just the once in the first half, courtesy of an Osman drive which the Chelsea keeper kept out with a one-handed save.

At the other end, Everton’s resolute defence gave Chelsea little room inside the penalty area, until Willian carved out some space for himself and teed up Samuel Eto’o, whose shot from an angle was blocked by Howard’s legs.

Mourinho’s body language spoke volumes for his views on his side’s first-half display and he opted to withdraw a tired-looking Oscar at the break, with Ramires replacing him.

They were on the front foot from the off in the second half and Lampard was denied by Howard after being played in by Eto’o.

Everton remained a threat on the counter-attack and Cech did well to push Osman’s drive behind after it had taken a slight deflection off the heel of Everton team-mate Kevin Mirallas.

Chelsea were in the ascendancy for much of the second half but Everton’s outstanding back four forced Mourinho into another reshuffle, as Fernando Torres joined Eto’o up front, before Andre Schurrle replaced the Cameroonian.

The Blues boss must have thought it wasn’t to be his day when Howard kept out Hazard’s drive and then immediately got up to block Ivanovic’s follow-up, while Schurrle and Willian fired just wide in the closing minutes.

But they were bailed out by the old guard as Terry’s presence forced Howard into pushing Lampard’s set piece into his own net for three crucial points.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1):Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Lampard; Willian (Torres 61), Oscar (Ramires 45), Hazard; Eto’o (Schurrle 69).
Subs not used: Cole, Salah, Ba, Schwarzer.

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