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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL: Chelsea keep slim hopes of final Champions League slot alive

EPL: Chelsea keep slim hopes of final Champions League slot alive

April 20, 2018 10:05 IST

IMAGE: Victor Moses celebrates scoring Chelsea's second goal with Pedro and Alvaro Morata in Thursday's English Premier League match against Burnley. Photograph: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Victor Moses struck a 69th-minute winner for Chelsea to give Antonio Conte's side a 2-1 Premier League victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on Thursday, closing the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea trail Spurs by five points with just four games remaining but the win kept alive their slim hopes of a late push for the final Champions League slot.

 

"It won't be easy because there is a five-point gap to Tottenham and in the past we missed great chances to stay closer to them," said Conte.

"Now the only way is to try to get three points in every game from now until the end, which won't be easy because we are playing teams fighting to avoid relegation. But we have to try and tonight I saw a great spirit," the Italian added.

Chelsea had taken a 20th-minute lead through a Kevin Long own goal after the Burnley defenders attempt to clear a Moses cross ended up in his own net.

The Londoners were well in control of the game, making effective use of two target strikers in Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud after Conte opted to start with Eden Hazard on the bench ahead of Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Southampton.

Chelsea should have doubled their lead after the break when Morata broke clear but shot wide when he was one-on-one with Burnley keeper Nick Pope.

Against the run of play, Burnley drew level in the 64th minute, when Johann Berg Gudmundsson cut in from the right and his low drive went in off team-mate Ashley Barnes and beat the wrong-footed Thibaut Courtois.

But the Blues responded perfectly five minutes later when a cross from the left from Emerson reached Moses at the back post and he took his time before firing past Nick Pope.

The loss ended Burnley's five-match winning streak but Sean Dyche's side remained seventh in the table and with a chance of qualifying for next season's Europa League.

Lacklustre Leicester hold Southampton goalless 

IMAGE: Leicester City's Ben Hamer saves a shot from Southampton's Shane Long. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

Southampton remained deep in relegation trouble after they were held to a 0-0 draw at a lacklustre Leicester City in the Premier League on Thursday.

Leicester, managed by former Southampton boss Claude Puel, have now gone five home matches without a win but the Saints produced little to scare them.

Jamie Vardy went closest for the Foxes, forcing a fine save out of Alex McCarthy in the second half and Riyad Mahrez shot just wide in the latter stages.

Southampton, in 18th place, are four points away from safety with four games remaining and face Chelsea on Sunday in the FA semi-finals.

"We hoped to get more out of the game and we had a couple of chances," Southampton manager Mark Hughes told the BBC.

"Only time will tell to see whether the point is enough for us. There was a little bit of apprehension in our play. The players are a little bit flat and we have got a big game at the weekend but we are not in the situation where we are downhearted," Hughes added.

"It's the disappointment of not getting maximum points, but the key was to get something from the game."

Source:
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