posted on Apr, 9 2005 @ 01:08 PM
Champions-elect Chelsea were rescued by a late Didier Drogba equaliser against Birmingham at Stamford Bridge.
Walter Pandiani had stunned Chelsea with what had looked set to be the winner in the Barclays Premiership. Chelsea failed to reproduce their Champions
League form against struggling Blues and after a poor first half, Jose Mourinho introduced big guns Drogba and Eidur Gudjohnsen - but it was Uruguayan
international Pandiani who struck first. Moments after denying Drogba at point-blank range with a sublime sliding tackle, Matthew Upson was on hand to
nod a Jermain Pennant free-kick into the box for Pandiani to rifle home, despite John Terry's dubious efforts to stop it on the line with what
appeared to be his arm. But Chelsea surged forward and got their reward when Frank Lampard fed Drogba, who ignored the offside claims to bury past
Maik Taylor and salvage a point.
Dutch winger Kiki Musampa produced a stunning volley to blast Manchester City to a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Liverpool. The Reds' Champions League
hopes took a severe blow when, after a largely dull 90 minutes, Musampa appeared on the edge of the box to blast home Lee Croft's right-wing cross on
the volley for his first goal in English football.
In the battle for second place and the automatic Champions League spot, Arsenal won 1-0 after being frustrated for long periods by Middlesbrough on
Teesside. The goal came courtesy of Robert Pires, who after good work by Patrick Vieira was on hand to fire home when the ball broke kindly to him
with less than 15 minutes left.
Bolton's European ambitions are still alive following a 3-1 win at home to Fulham. The Cottagers finished the first half 2-0 down with 10 men at the
Reebok Stadium after Claus Jensen was sent off for handball after appearing to block Bruno N'Gotty's goal-bound header with his arm, and Jay-Jay
Okocha slotted the penalty home before Kevin Nolan made it 2-0 before the break. Luis Boa Morte pulled a goal back early after the break but the
visitors' goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar threw the ball to team-mate Maurice Volz, which was intercepted by Nolan who fed Stelios Giannakopoulos to make
Alain Perrin tasted victory in his first match in charge as his Portsmouth side secured a thrilling 4-2 victory at home to Charlton. Aiyegbeni
Yakubu's brilliant header from Steve Stone's cross opened the scoring and Stone himself doubled the lead, only for the Addicks to pull one back when
Jonathan Fortune ghosted into the box to head home Danny Murphy's free-kick before the break. And Murphy brought Alan Curbishley's team to 2-2 with
another free-kick, this time a direct shot. But Diomansy Kamara's late header made it 3-2 with Lomana LuaLua sealing victory in injury time.
Morten Gamst Pedersen continued his purple patch with an 11th-minute goal against Southampton as Blackburn won 3-0 at Ewood Park. Andreas Jakobsson
gave his side the worst possible start to the second half, putting Steven Reid's cross into his own net to put Blackburn two ahead. And Reid turned
scorer himself not long after to seal a comfortable victory for Mark Hughes' side.