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Chelsea held in Tottenham stalemate

  • 24 Mar 2012
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LONDON (AFP)
Chelsea are now five points adrift of a coveted Champions League qualifying berth

Chelsea missed the chance to close the gap on Tottenham in the race for a top-four finish on Saturday, drawing 0-0 in the Premier League's early kick-off at Stamford Bridge.

The draw left fifth-placed Chelsea five points adrift of a coveted Champions League qualifying berth, and fourth-placed Tottenham were unlucky not to take all three points after twice going close late on.

Spurs, bidding to secure their first league win at Chelsea since 1990, enjoyed the better of the chances without ever managing to dominate their London rivals in a game played in brilliant sunshine.

The best chance of a lackustre first half came two minutes into injury time, when Tottenham attacker Rafael van der Vaart spurned a golden opportunity, denied by a Petr Cech save and a goal-line block by Ashley Cole.

Chelsea's only genuine chance on goal came on 73 minutes when a Juan Mata free-kick hit the woodwork with Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel well-beaten.

Blues substitute David Luiz was unable to get into position to rifle in the rebound and the chance had gone.

At the other end, Chelsea had transfer window signing Gary Cahill to thank for a superb sliding block from Emmanuel Adebayor on 79 minutes, the England international cutting out the Togolese striker's effort after he had successfully rounded Petr Cech and shot.

From the ensuing corner Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale crashed a thumping header off the crossbar but Chelsea escaped again.

In the final minute of injury time Cech was on hand once more to parry away a vicious long-range free-kick from Bale as Chelsea hung on for the point.

In later games on Saturday, Manchester City will bid to reclaim top spot with in the title race with victory at Stoke, with Manchester United not playing Fulham until Monday.

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