Deadly Didier Strikes Again  (Sky Sports)

Portsmouth 0 Chelsea 2

Dider Drogba celebrates his goalDidier Drogba capped a glorious week by scoring his 29th goal of the season as Chelsea kept up the pressure on Manchester United.

Drogba's first half strike, coupled with a late goal by substitute Salomon Kalou, earned the visitors a 2-0 win at Portsmouth.

Ivory Coast international Drogba, whose double strike won the Carling Cup for the champions last Sunday, was named Africa's Player of the Year in midweek.

But his memorable seven days continued when he fired home Ashley Cole's long cross in the 32nd minute to put Jose Mourinho's side en route to a vital three points.

The visitors did not look secure, however, until Kalou killed off the contest eight minutes from time.

Chelsea, 12 points adrift of Manchester United at kick-off, found themselves on the back foot in the early stages and goalkeeper Petr Cech had to be as his best to keep out a smart right-foot shot from Lomana LuaLua after eight minutes.

The champions looked distinctly out of sorts in the difficult conditions despite having the majority of the possession.

In the 14th minute, Michael Essien brought down LuaLua midway in the Chelsea half but Matthew Taylor's attempt on goal hit the defensive wall and cannoned out of play for a corner.

But Chelsea showed they were dangerous on the break when Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko combined down the left flank.

The opportunity looked to have gone when referee Mark Halsey got in the way but the loose ball rebounded to Ashley Cole who lofted it just over the crossbar.

Shevchenko sent a shot into the side netting after being put through by Arjen Robben.

However, the Ukrainian made amends moments later by supplying a sublime ball for Drogba. But the Ivorian fired high and wide to earn the derision of the home fans.

The visitors went ahead after 33 minutes and it was no surprise that it was Drogba who gave them the lead, his 29th goal of the season.

The striker met Cole's deep cross to beat David James from a narrow angle in spite of the attentions of Djimi Traore.

It was rough justice on the home side who had more than matched the champions until Drogba's intervention.

Portsmouth continued to take the game to Chelsea but poor finishing prevented them from scoring the equaliser they deserved on their first half display.

Robben came close to extending the champions' lead straight after the break. The Dutch winger burst into the box but his left foot shot cannoned back off the upright.

But the longer the game went on, the more then visitors controlled the game. Frank Lampard demonstrated their growing confidence by unleashing a 25-yard drive which James did well to hold.

In the 57th minute, Robben was jeered by the crowd when he went down under a challenge and then appeared to be hit by a missile thrown from the crowd.

The Dutch winger was then booed every time he collected the ball as Chelsea looked for the decisive goal.

Portsmouth appeared to have run out of ideas in attack as Chelsea, inspired by Essien, coped easily with everything the south coast side could muster.

But just as it appeared certain Chelsea would claim the three points, they were almost denied by substitute Andy Cole.

The former England striker got up well and headed powerfully goalwards, but Cech pulled off an instinctive save with his left hand.

Minutes later the visitors killed off the game. Substitute Kalou, on for Shevchenko, made the most of James' untimely slip to slide the ball home to cut Manchester United's lead at the top back to nine points.


Portsmouth James, Campbell, Pamarot, Primus, Taylor, Traore (Kranjcar 68), Davis, Hughes, O’Neil, Kanu, LuaLua (Cole 73)
Subs Not Used Ashdown, O’Brien, Mvuemba

Chelsea Cech, Carvalho, Cole, Ballack, Diarra, Essien, Lampard, Makelele, Drogba (Bridge 84), Robben (Wright-Phillips 76), Shevchenko (Kalou 76)
Subs Not Used  Cudicini, Ferreira
Booked  Ballack, Makelele
Drogba 33, Kanu 82

Attendance 20,219

Referee  M. Halsey

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