Crespo Bags Late Blues Win (Sky Sports)
Middlesbrough 1 Chelsea 2
Chelsea stole all three points at Middlesbrough as a late Hernan Crespo strike broke Boro hearts as they fell to a late 2-1 defeat at The Riverside.
The Blues had looked in control of the game in the first half and duly took the lead with Eidur Gudjohnsons cool finish, and Boro were lucky to go in at half time just one goal down.
The home side came firing out of the blocks in the second half and drew level immediately after the restart, and looked to be heading for a deserved point until Crespo headed in the winner two minutes from time.
Chelsea's early dominance reaped dividends with a goal following tenacious play from Frank Lampard. The former West Ham man won the ball in midfield and fed Damien Duff who turned and instantly fed Gudjohnson inside the box who was as clinical as ever when coolly slotting past Mark Schwarzer.
Chelsea dominated and could have doubled their lead just after the half-hour when Lampards free kick found John Terry arriving at the far post and the Blues skipper powered a header past Schwarzer only to be denied by the crossbar.
Steve McClaren must have given his side a great half time team-talk as they drew level instantly after the break when Robert Huth lost out to Gaizka Mendieta, who crossed for Nemeth to stroke home within 15 seconds.
Boro were a different side after the goal as Mendieta got into the game and began to pull the strings and he supplied Malcolm Christie inside the box only for the former Derby striker to lob the ball over, while Doriva stung the palms of Carlo Cudicini.
Substitute Crespo almost made an impact as he robbed Colin Cooper before racing into the box but rifled the ball right at Schwarzers face, leaving the dazed Australian in a heap.
Just as the home side were looking at a hard-fought point, Crespo stole a win for the visitors when he popped up at the back post following a Duff cross and managed to squeeze his header inside the post.
The strike came just two minutes from time
and the Argentinian proved his worth by keeping Claudio Ranieris side up with
Manchester United and Arsenal at the top of the Premiership table.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Queudrue,
Mills, Riggott, Cooper, Mendieta, Greening, Doriva (Juninho Paulista 89),
Boateng, Christie (Ricketts 82), Nemeth (Downing 87).
Subs Not Used: Jones, Davies.
Goals: Nemeth 46.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Johnson, Bridge,
Terry, Huth, Duff, Gronkjaer (Cole 79), Makelele, Lampard, Hasselbaink (Crespo
45), Gudjohnsen (Mutu 79).
Subs Not Used: Ambrosio, Geremi.
Booked: Hasselbaink, Huth.Goals: Gudjohnsen 17, Crespo 88.
Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).