West Ham 0-1 Chelsea

25 April 2009 07:02
Chelsea kept their slim title hopes alive with victory at West Ham.Florent Malouda went close as Chelsea dominated before Kieron Dyer was denied by Peter Cech and Diego Tristan's flick was cleared off the line. [LNB]Salomon Kalou put Chelsea ahead when he volleyed in from Frank Lampard's cross, and later Ashley Cole hit the bar as the Hammers were pinned back. [LNB]West Ham had a chance to equalise when Kalou fouled Hireta Ilunga but Cech superbly saved Mark Noble's penalty. [LNB]The win briefly saw Chelsea move to within three points of leaders Manchester United, but their rivals later beat Tottenham 5-2. [LNB]Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink had already conceded the title after his side's 0-0 midweek draw against at Everton, but ahead of the trip to Upton Park, the Dutchman had insisted his side were keen to finish as runners-up.[LNB] [LNB][LNB]emp_load.getEmpEmbeddedParams("emp_8018575");Hiddink critical despite Blues win[LNB]However, the wholesale changes to his line-up suggested there was far more focus on the midweek Champions League match at Barcelona than catching second-placed Liverpool. [LNB]Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Michael Ballack were all on the bench, though their absence was hardly noticed as Chelsea outplayed their hosts in the opening 45 minutes. [LNB]Malouda had the best of Chelsea's first-half chances but struck a low, diagonal shot just wide after being played in by Lampard. [LNB]The England international midfielder, following his radio row on Friday experienced another hostile reception at his former club, inevitably fired in a few shots.[LNB] Well done to Cech for an excellent and important penalty save today norapeti But he, along with Nicolas Anelka, who also had a shoot on sight policy, failed to trouble keeper Robert Green. [LNB]Instead it was West Ham who created the first-half's best two openings. [LNB]The first fell to Dyer, who was making his first start since breaking his leg in August 2007, but he shot weakly at Cech. [LNB]The second chance came just before the interval - from West Ham's first corner - when Matthew Upson headed the ball on and Tristan flicked the ball goalwards only for Jon Mikel Obi to clear off the line.[LNB] [LNB][LNB]emp_load.getEmpEmbeddedParams("emp_8018633");Zola blames poor passing for defeat[LNB]Chelsea finally got the goal their superiority deserved when Lampard crossed from the left and Kalou controlled with his chest before clipping the ball home on the volley. [LNB]Anelka had a great opportunity to double the lead when through one-on-one with Green but the keeper spread himself well to make a fine stop. [LNB]Shortly after Green was beaten by a fierce Cole drive but the ball bounced off the top of the bar. [LNB]It seemed Chelsea had three points wrapped up but they had to survive a scare when Kalou conceded a penalty for tugging back Ilunga. [LNB]Noble stepped up and struck the kick well, but Cech was equal to it as he dived to his left to make an excellent save. [LNB][LNB]West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola on Frank Lampard: "They didn't forgive him for leaving. [LNB]"Frank is a very good professional, a very good boy and it makes me sorry to think he has a problem with this crowd." [LNB]Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink: "I have rested some players but if I had suggested doing the same to Frank Lampard, well, I didn't even talk to him about it. [LNB]"He would have looked at me as if to say, 'Why are you doing that?' These guys with big personalities, they want to play every game. [LNB]"Maybe some time in the near future I will have to tell him he's not going to play, but without looking at him I think." [LNB][LNB]West Ham: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Boa Morte (Nsereko 72), Noble, Stanislas, Dyer (Sears 61), Tristan, Di Michele (Kovac 61). Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Spector, Payne. [LNB]Booked: Stanislas. [LNB]Chelsea: Cech, Mancienne (Ballack 83), Ivanovic, Terry, Bosingwa (Ashley Cole 58), Mikel, Belletti, Kalou (Essien 73), Lampard, Malouda, Anelka. Subs Not Used: Hilario, Di Santo, Drogba, Stoch. [LNB]Goals: Kalou 55. [LNB]Att: 34,749 [LNB]Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral). [LNB][LNB]BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Chelsea's Frank Lampard 7.94 (on 90 minutes). [LNB]Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.[LNB] Player Rater

Source: BBC_Sport