Blues Battle To Royal Win  (Sky Sports)

Reading 0 Chelsea 1

Boulahrouz in action against ReadingChelsea battled to a 1-0 win over Reading at the Madejski Stadium to move level on points with Manchester United.

An unlucky own goal from Ivar Ingimarsson gave Chelsea the spoils, but the game was marred by a double injury blow with Petr Cech and his replacement Carlo Cudicini being stretchered off with serious head injuries.

Both sides finished the game with ten men with John Obi Mikel seeing red for Chelsea and Andre Bikey dismissed for Reading.

Chelsea suffered a major blow within the opening minute when Petr Cech was caught in the head with a clash with Reading's Stephen Hunt.

After several minutes of treatment Cech was stretchered off with suspected concussion with Carlo Cudicini replacing the Czech international between the posts.

Reading created the first opening of the contest on 11 minutes when Hunt swung in a dangerous corner for Ivar Ingimarsson who failed to get his header on target.

Chelsea had their first shot in anger two minutes later with Andrei Shevchenko seeing his long-range shot comfortably saved by Marcus Hahnemann

Reading had a lucky escape on 17 minutes when Ingimarsson headed Paulo Ferreira's cross onto his own crossbar.

A minute later Arjen Robben created a good chance for himself by skinning Graeme Murty down the left only to flash his shot across the face of goal.

Chelsea suffered another injury scare soon after when Ferreira fell heavily in an aerial challenge and the Portuguese ace required lengthy treatment before returning to the action.

Reading were inches away from breaking the deadlock on 33 minutes when Hunt somehow found his way past three Chelsea defenders before squaring the ball for Kevin Doyle who saw his left-footed shot strike the inside of the post.

The home side suffered a blow nine minutes before the break when Murty was forced off with a recurrence of his hamstring injury and Andre Bikey was brought into the action early.

Hahnemann gifted Chelsea a chance three minutes before half time when he threw the ball straight to Robben and he played in Didier Drogba who fired in a shot which was kept out at the near post by Hahnemann.

Chelsea broke the deadlock right on the stroke of half time with a real fortuitous strike.

Lampard won a free kick right on the edge of the box and his shot took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Ingimarsson before going into the net.

Reading came out in determined fashion after the restart with James Harper and Steve Sidwell both seeing long-range shots flying off target.

After a quiet start to the second half the game burst into life just past the hour mark when Obi Mikel was sent off for a second bookable offence after hauling back Sonko.

The game threatened to boil over on 64 minutes when players from both sides became involved in a scuffle after a late tackle by Sidwell, but referee Mike Riley decided to take no action against either side.

Reading went close to scoring on 72 minutes when Hunt teed Sidwell up on the edge of the box and the midfielder drilled his shot just wide of the far post.

Chelsea had a rare foray into the Reading half on 81 minutes with Robben firing straight at Hahnemann.

A minute later Reading were reduced to ten men when Bikey was sent off for a second bookable offence after tugging back Drogba on the edge of the box.

From the resulting free kick Lampard drove in his shot straight down the throat of Hahnemann.

The home side pushed forward in the dying stages and they almost grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time when Nicky Shorey saw his header kicked off the line by Drogba after Cudicini had been clattered by Sonko from the initial corner.

Cudicini looked in real discomfort following the clash and the Italian became the second Chelsea goalkeeper to be stretchered off with Terry taking the gloves to take over in goal for the closing stages of the game.


Reading Hahnemann, Ingimarsson, Murty (Bikey 36), Shorey, Sonko, Harper, Hunt, Ki-Hyeon (Little 64), Sidwell, Doyle, Lita (Long 73)
Subs Not Used Stack, Gunnarsson
Booked  Ingimarsson, Sonko, Bikey
Sent Off Bikey

Chelsea  Cech (Cudicini 5), Boulahrouz, Bridge, Ferreira, Terry, Essien, Lampard, Mikel, Drogba, Robben (Kalou 82), Shevchenko (J. Cole 63)
Subs Not Used  Carvalho, Wright-Phillips
Booked  Mikel, Terry
Sent Off Mikel
Goals  Ingimarsson (og) 45

Attendance  24,025

Referee  M. Riley

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