Boa Morte Strike Upsets Blue Bloods (Sky Sports)
Fulham 1 Chelsea 0
Fulham finally upstaged their more illustrious West London neighbours with an entertaining 1-0 win over Chelsea, who finished the match with ten men.
Luis Boa Morte's 17th minute matchwinner earned Fulham, who mounted a determined rearguard action in the second half, the three points which all but ensures the hosts' continued Premiership status.
The Cottagers approached the match in considerable trepidation after suffering four successive defeats but Chris Coleman's side were left to celebrate their first win over their rivals since they gained promotion to The Premiership in 2001.
Jose Mourinho cajoled his side but, despite a second half improvement which saw Didier Drogba's goal chalked off for handball, could not muster an equaliser much to the frustration of William Gallas who was dismissed for a late challenge on Heidar Helguson.
Fulham made much the brighter start and could have been given the opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot after just six minutes.
Moritz Volz out-foxed Gallas and made inroads into the Chelsea box only to be scythed down by John Terry - referee Mike Dean remarkably saw no infringement and signalled only for a goal kick to the visitors.
Joe Cole threatened intermittently but the Chelsea thoroughbreds were slow out of their Kings Road traps and the goal the hosts had warranted arrived in the 17th minute albeit in somewhat fortuitous circumstances from Boa Morte.
The Portuguese cut inside and played a ball into Steed Malbranque. The Belgian-born playmaker shifted the ball on to his left and his shot squirmed through the challenges of Frank Lampard and Robert Huth. Boa Morte spotted the opportunity and seized on the ball, Paulo Ferreira attempted to do likewise and wrest the ball away but succeeded only in diverting the ball against the shin of Boa Morte and the ball sped past a bemused Petr Cech.
The anxious Mourinho had already seen enough and vented his frustrations at his side's inertia by making two substitutions in the 25th minute. Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips being sacrificed as Drogba and Damien Duff entered the fray.
Chelsea went two up top but the force remained with Fulham's attackers. Huth attempted to stem the tide but was booked for a challenge which almost bisected The Cottagers' goalscorer.
The champions finally found a semblance of rhythm just after the 30-minute mark. Drogba's cross-field pass caught out Fulham, and found Duff with the freedom of the hosts' half. Duff did not disappoint, driving purposefully at goal and the Irishman hit a fine shot which forced a parry from Mark Crossley but the danger was still not cleared as Duff, Lampard and Hernan Crespo all had prods.
The Blues should have found themselves two goals adrift five minutes from the interval but Cech pulled off an excellent save to thwart Collins John. Seizing on a through ball from Mark Pembridge the striker will know he should have found the back of the net and not the outstretched form of Cech.
Duff's skied effort in the second minute of time added on at the end of the first half summed up the visitors' disappointment as Mourinho contemplated his side's predicament.
Never one to rest idle Mourinho made his third change of the match at the interval with Ricardo Carvalho replacing Huth and Chelsea switching to a 3-5-2.
Unbowed Fulham pressed on. Pembridge almost exacted full punishment for Michael Essien's clumsy foul on McBride but his shot clipped the outside of the post.
Drogba fizzed a ball across the box but no one in a blue shirt anticipated the striker's lightning burst of pace which carried him past Liam Rosenior.
Confusion reigned in the 58th minute, when Drogba appeared to have pulled The Blues level after rounding Zat Knight and the onrushing Crossley. It appeared the goal had been given, but Dean consulted with his assistant whose view of the incident would probably have been no better than his.
After deliberation Dean pointed for a free kick in Fulham's favour much to the consternation of Mourinho. The decision was correct but the incident served to tip the balance of the match in Chelsea's favour and Fulham were forced on the defence for the remainder of the match.
Boa Morte cleared Gallas's header and Drogba's bouncing header caused Crossley anxiety.
Knight's woeful attempt to control a Duff cross inadvertently teed up Lampard but the normally assured striker of the ball placed his shot a yard over the crossbar from just eight yards.
Chelsea continued to threaten from corners after amassing 15 flag kicks and as the match entered four minutes of stoppage time, Terry almost contrived an equaliser from Drogba's cross but was foiled by the alert reactions of the veteran Crossley.
Mourinho may have sensed then that it was not to be Chelsea's day although in truth Fulham deserved their reward for tremendous endeavour.
The visitors ended the match in disgrace when Gallas was given his marching orders for a high challenge on Helguson after the Icelander's tussle with Duff.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||3|
|2||Shots off Target||6|
Crossley, John (Helguson 71), Knight, Pearce,
Rosenior, Volz, Brown, Malbranque (Christanval 89), Pembridge, Boa Morte,
Subs Not Used Warner, Jensen, Radzinski
Goals Boa Morte 17
Cech, Gallas, Huth (Carvalho 45), Ferreira,
Terry J. Cole (Drogba 26), Essien, Lampard, Makelele, Wright-Phillips (Duff 26),
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Maniche
Booked Huth, Carvalho, Drogba, Makelele
Sent Off Gallas