Chelsea back in second with win over City

LONDON - Chelsea yesterday kept in touch with title rivals Manchester United and Liverpool with a comfortable win over Manchester City.

LONDON - Chelsea yesterday kept in touch with title rivals Manchester United and Liverpool with a comfortable win over Manchester City.

Michael Essien struck the only goal via his shin when he diverted Frank Lampard's free-kick into the corner.

The scoreline barely reflected the Blues' dominance as their slick passing moves left City chasing shadows.

Substitute Juliano Belletti came close to doubling the lead when his low drive hit a post, while a jaded looking City offered virtually no attacking threat.

Chelsea's victory lifts them to second on the table and level on points with Liverpool, who beat Manchester United on Saturday to reduce their lead to four points (see 15 of Sports Voltage).

United have a game in hand over their rivals but will be looking nervously over their shoulders.

And the Blues are giving them good reason to worry after another strong performance that maintains manager Guus Hiddink's unbeaten record.

In midfield, Chelsea overpowered and out-thought their visitors, with Essien, Michael Ballack and Lampard in excellent form.

And up front Didier Drogba - in a lone striker role with Nicolas Anelka starting on the right - was a constant threat until he was forced off on 71 minutes, holding his knee.

Quick thinking brought the goal when Lampard fired in a low free-kick to an unmarked Essien, who sent the ball into the corner, courtesy of his shin. More goals should have come as slick passing moves opened up City time and again. - BBC

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