Cudicini Keeps Spurs Waiting For That Win  (Sky Sports)

Tottenham Hotspur  0 Chelsea 0

Carlo Cudicini
Tottenham  0-0 Chelsea 
Barclaycard Premiership

Tottenham were left waiting for that elusive victory over Chelsea as the two old foes cancelled each other out in an engrossing stalemate.

Carlo Cudicini did as much as anyone to frustrate the White Hart Lane faithful, making four fine saves as Glenn Hoddle saw his side create, yet fail to convert, a host of chances.

But Spurs did not have it all their own way and despite the loss of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink with what looked like a groin injury, the west Londoners could have crossed the river with all three points had Mario Melchiot's header not come back off a post.

Had the lurking Marcel Desailly got any sort of touch at the back stick, the Blues would have surely been celebrating the sort of success that is almost taken as read arounf Stamford Bridge.

Spurs fans, in contrast, must wonder what they have to do to win in the league against Chelsea. For 13 years they have tried, on several occasions they should have, and today they could well have broken one of football's most-fabled jinxes.

Chelsea had their chances too, but will look to yet another fine showing from Cudicini. He began the day by watching Robbie Keane head badly wide from Stephen Carr's deep, diagonal ball and from then on, was literally unbeatable.

His first moment of glory was nothing short of world-class as the excellent Jamie Redknapp flicked up and volleyed a familiar free-kick routine that the deceived the keeper in flight, only for the Italian not only to change direction but also claw the ball over the bar as White Hart Lane had begun celebrating.

He also kept out a tamer set-piece effort from Teddy Sheringham before breathing another sigh of relief as Keane headed another point-blank effort over after another Carr raid down the right.

Yet Chelsea were by no means overrun and with Jody Morris keeping them ticking over in central midfield made as many chances, Enrique de Lucus slicing woefully wide after being put through by Emmanuel Petit and Hasselbaink dragging a low effort wide from 25 yards with Kasey Keller struggling to get across.

Hasselbaink then limped off after landing awkwardly from an aerial clash with Chris Perry and although the visitors found their attacking flow after the break, they barely forced the home keeper into a serious save.

Cudicini, however, was called upon to add to a growing reputation, denying Chelsea old boy Gus Poyet a dream strike as he blocked with his legs after the Uruguayan had muddled through on goal after a long throw from the right.

Sheringham was next to suffer as a low corner picked him out at the near post and his trademark shot on the swivel reared up, only to be flicked over the top thanks to another bout of lightning reflexes.

With each save came the growing feeling that the jibkx would continue and true enough, Chelsea came closest to winning the game around the hourt mark. Gianfranco Zola whipped the ball in from the right, Melchiot rose highest in the near-post melee but with Desailly failing to get the touch, saw his glancing header bounce away off the upright.

Zole, Frank Lampard and Eidur Gudjohnsen all had late chances to snatch it as history weighed heavy on Spurs shoulders, but fittingly it was Cudicini who closes the latest chapter in London football's longest-running saga as he clutched a Chris Perry header right at the death.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Carlo Cudicini (Chelsea)
The Italian was one of several on top of their game, but his saves at crucial times kept Spurs waiting - for another three months at least.

Tottenham: Keller, Perry, Richards, Bunjevcevic, Carr, Freund, Redknapp, Poyet (Acimovic 73), Davies, Sheringham (Ferdinand 90), Keane.
Subs Not Used: Hirschfeld, Etherington, Gardner.
Booked: Sheringham, Acimovic, Keller.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Gallas, Desailly, Babayaro, Morris, Lampard, Petit, De Lucas (Oliveira 88), Hasselbaink (Gudjohnsen 44), Zola.
Subs Not Used: Pidgeley, Ferrer, Terry.
Booked: Morris, De Lucas.

Att: 36,049
Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).


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