Chelsea 3-2 Fulham  (Sky Sports)

Fulham Left Fuming At Forssell's Finn-ish

Mikael Forssell


Chelsea 3-2 Fulham
Melchiot 18
Gudjohnsen 27
Forssell 82 
  Saha 20 (pen), 73 
FA Barclaycard Premiership


A controversial late strike from Finnish substitute Mikael Forssell settled an enthralling west London derby at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea kept up their push for Europe with a 3-2 win.

Louis Saha, with his first goals in nine games, had twice hauled Fulham level after Mario Melchiot and Eidur Gudjohnsen had struck for the home side.

But, while there was no doubting the coolness of Forssell's finish with eight minutes left, Fulham players were left questioning the Finn's apparent use of two hands to bring Jesper Gronkjaer's looping cross under control.

It was cruel luck on Jean Tigana's visitors, who had played a fulsome part in a fast-paced game of ebb-and-flow between two evenly matched sides.

The score at the interval could reasonably have been four apiece as defensive rigidity was sacrificed at the expense of sweeping attacking football on the Blues' recently relaid surface.

The Cottagers' preferred striking partnership of Saha and Steve Marlet regularly got the better of their French compatriots William Gallas and the returning Marcel Desailly at the heart of the Chelsea defence.

Marlet had already rattled the crossbar with a header before Saha found the net from the penalty spot, albeit after a highly debatable foul on the young striker from Gallas, who seemed to get more than a little something on the ball.

Chelsea had forged ahead just 90 seconds earlier when marauding full-back Mario Melchiot collected a raking Frank Lampard pass, and saw his left-footer beat Edwin van der Sar via Rufus Brevett's heel with former Blue Jon Harley trailing in his wake.

And they were ahead again before the half-hour, Gudjohnsen confidently dispatching his 19th of the season after Graeme Le Saux's incisive through-ball.

Elusive Italian Gianfranco Zola was only denied a double by van der Sar's agility, while at the other end Abdeslam Ouaddou joined Saha and Steed Malbranque in spurning inviting opportunities, and Marlet was denied a second penalty when he hit the turf under Lampard's challenge.

The pace was slower but the football no less attractive after the break, and Fulham looked to have grabbed a deserved point when Saha out-braved Gallas to get his head to Marlet's cross before three of Forssell's four limbs seemed to intervene.

Chelsea remain sixth and will not give up hope of a Champions League place as long as it is still possible, while Fulham, for all their appearance of a top-eight side, will be all too aware that Blackburn - and the bottom three - are just six points adrift.

Man of the Match: Steve Marlet (Fulham) - in a game brimming with impressive forwards, Marlet caught the eye.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Babayaro, Desailly, Gallas, Le Saux, Lampard, Petit (Dalla Bona 60), Zola (Gronkjaer 65), Gudjohnsen (Forssell 74), Hasselbaink.
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Morris.
Booked: Dalla Bona.

Fulham: Van der Sar, Finnan, Brevett, Goma, Ouaddou, Harley, Collins, Malbranque, Boa Morte (Hayles 71), Marlet, Saha.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Melville, Knight, Goldbaek.
Att: 39,744
Ref: P Jones (Loughborough)

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