|Gudjohnsen: What a strike!
Dalla Bona 31
Chelsea reignited their challenge for
Champions League qualification - if not the title itself - with a
deserved victory against fellow top-four contenders Leeds at Stamford
The Blues, now two points behind David
O'Leary's man, struck after just 95 seconds through Eidur Gudjohnsen
and doubled their lead amid controversy just after the half hour when
the ball appeared to hit Sam dalla Bona's arm before he fired home the
Whereas Chelsea were almost immediately behind in last week's
Worthington Cup capitulation at Tottenham, this time they seized
the lead after just 95 seconds.
The cutting edge was provided by Mario
Stanic, who turned inside two defenders from the left flank and found
Emmanuel Petit with a square ball.
The French midfielder then teed up
Gudjohnsen, who had peeled into space at the edge of the penalty area,
and produced a sublime left-foot finish on the turn that curled into
the top corner.
Moments later, dalla Bona flashed a
shot narrowly over as Chelsea defied the muddy pitch and the driving
rain with a determined, flowing start.
However, Hasselbaink rolled a shot
harmlessly wide and sent a free-kick over the top, while Leeds tried
to haul themselves back into contention back they never got out of
first gear - a fact that will have worried O'Leary more than anything.
After conceding early, Leeds did regroup, without ever giving Cudicini
too much cause to sweat, and they were made to pay with the
Mario Melchiot's long-throw was chested down by Hasselbaink, Jason
Wilcox's attempted clearance struck dalla Bona's arm before he bundled
a shot past Nigel Martyn.
Leeds protested furiously, with Wilcox
being booked, and their problems continued as Seth Johnson
limped off to be replaced by Robbie Keane, while Wilcox was fortunate
to escape a second booking after two late tackles.
With John Terry in imperious form at the back, there was still only an
intermittent threat on the home goal after the break, and Cudicini's
parry of Gary Kelly's long-range effort was a rare occasion when
he had to muddy his knees.
Chelsea were value for a third, and Gudjohnsen was a couple of
yards off-target from the halfway line and Lampard's volley flashed
Leeds' night was summed up with six minutes left, when Cudicini
spilled Kewell's low drive, but the Chelsea keeper recovered just in
time to flick the ball off Mark Viduka's toe.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Terry, Desailly, Le Saux,
Stanic, Lampard, Petit, Dalla Bona, Hasselbaink,
Gudjohnsen (Forssell 83).
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Jokanovic, Ferrer, Zola.
Leeds: Martyn, Kelly, Woodgate (Harte 45), Ferdinand,
Matteo, Bowyer, Batty, Johnson (Keane 38), Wilcox, Viduka,
Fowler (Kewell 64).
Subs Not Used: Robinson, Dacourt.
Ref: S Bennett (Kent)