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Late goal earns Chelsea home draw with Man Utd

September 21, 2008 21:06 IST
Last Updated: September 22, 2008 09:07 IST

A late goal by substitute Salomon Kalou earned Chelsea a 1-1 draw with Manchester United [Images] at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as the Premier League's big two cancelled each other out.

Kalou, who came on in the 74th minute, headed home six minutes later after Park Ji-sung's 18th-minute opener.

The draw takes Chelsea level with Liverpool on 11 points, one behind leaders Arsenal [Images], who beat Bolton Wanderers 3-1 away on Saturday.

Aston Villa won 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday to move to fourth on 10 points.

Champions United, beaten by Liverpool last week, have five points from one game less than their title rivals.

Aware that another defeat would leave them nine points adrift of Chelsea, they started well and Rio Ferdinand hit the woodwork in an early attack.

They went ahead after Patrice Evra surged into the box and squared for Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian, a peripheral figure for most of the match, had his low shot parried by goalkeeper Petr Cech but straight into the path of Park, who turned it in.

Chelsea threw on Didier Drogba [Images] for the second half, with United introducing Cristiano Ronaldo [Images], but neither forward was able to make an impact.

Joe Cole had a great chance to equalise after 65 minutes when through on goal but he shot weakly straight at Tomasz Kuszczak, on in place of Edwin van der Sar after the Dutchman was injured in a first-half collision.

Cole thought he had made amends seven minutes later when he whipped in a fierce low cross that Nicolas Anelka [Images] needed only to touch over the line but the Frenchman failed to make contact.

As the clock ticked down it appeared that Chelsea were heading for their first home league defeat since Arsenal beat them in February 2004.

However, when John Obi Mikel floated in a deep free kick Kuszczak remained rooted to his line and an unmarked Kalou headed home from six metres.

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari [Images] said the loss of Deco to an injury in the warm-up disrupted his team and enabled United to take the initiative.

"They controlled the game for the first 15 minutes, we improved some but our mistakes were in front of goal," he told Sky Sports.

Man of the match Park, still stinging after being left out of the Champions League final between the teams in May, said: "It was disappointing after we led for so long."

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