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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chelsea Clean Sheet Again, Man United Home Win

Chelsea's Lampard is consoled by Drogba after Stoke City's Sorensen saves a penalty during their English Premier League soccer match in London
Lampard missed the penalty for the first time this season
Frank Lampard had a penalty saved, but Florent Malouda's first-half strike and Didier Drogba's second-half penalty were more than enough to seal the victory that sends them back above Arsenal, following the Gunners' win at Blackburn earlier on Saturday.

John Terry brought the ball forward and slipped a pass between the two centre-backs for Malouda to latch on to, and the Frenchman stabbed the ball past Thomas Sorensen.

Drogba then doubled the lead and, like Malouda, bagged his fourth of the season on 77 minutes. Nicolas Anelka won the spot-kick when he sprinted after a long ball over the top and beat Sorensen to the punch. The Danish keeper elected not to dive at the striker's feet, but his attempt at a tackle still tripped the Frenchman over and referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot. Drogba succeeded where Lampard had earlier failed by hammering the dead ball into the top corner as the keeper dived the wrong way.

The Blues could have been ahead from 12 yards much earlier after Ryan Shawcross brought down Malouda in the area after just 10 minutes. Lampard placed the ball on the penalty spot but, just as in May's FA Cup final and England's pre-World Cup friendly against Japan, he failed to convert, his low strike hit too close to Sorensen. At the time, six of the last eight Premier League penalties Sorensen had faced were either missed or saved, though Drogba's strike would later put a dent in that record.

That penalty came after an open first 10 minutes in which Dean Whitehead's low strike forced a save from Petr Cech, Jon Walters's effort landed on the roof of the net and Ashley Cole saw his shot trickle wide of the far post.

Photo 1 - Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder AFP/Getty Images
Nani revenge after missed the penalty last weekend

Rooney bagged his first strike since the end of March after 33 minutes when the excellent Ryan Giggs nipped past former United defender Jonathan Spector and into the box, forcing him to make the foul. Rooney took an unorthodox run-up, skipping several steps to the side before rolling the ball into the bottom corner with Robert Green diving the other way.

Rooney knocked Darren Fletcher's pass into the path of Nani, and the Portuguese forward burst forward, left defender Danny Gabbidon on his backside and fired past Green from the edge of the box.

Berbatov's contribution in linking up the attack was excellent throughout, and he got a deserved third of the season on 69 minutes when Nani clipped the ball to him at the far post that was the perfect height for an acrobatic volley. The Bulgarian striker removed his shirt as he wheeled away in celebration, and was subsequently booked.

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