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Premier League: Everton 1 Chelsea 2

Frank Lampard netted twice as Chelsea came from a goal down to beat Everton 2-1 away from home in the English Premier League on Sunday.

Everton started proceedings brightly as Steven Pienaar rifled home an opener in the second minute of the match at Goodison Park.

But Lampard struck to bring Chelsea level after a first half in which they were largely dominated by the hosts, before the veteran midfielder pounced on a loose ball in the second half to claim what would proved to be the winner.

The game started with at a high tempo and it took Everton little more than a minute to open the scoring.

Pienaar finished a move he started as Victor Anichebe’s header from Phil Jagielka’s cross rebounded back off the post for the South African to power home from 12 yards out.

Five minutes later, Nikica Jelavic rattled the same post as his curled free-kick cannoned back off the woodwork. It was a vibrant start from the hosts and they did not let up, largely thanks to the prominence of Pienaar.

His backheel to Jagielka, again down the right flank, led to a Leon Osman strike from the edge of the box that was well saved by Petr Cech.

The threat of a second Everton goal sparked Rafael Benitez’s side into life and it was Ramires’ driving run at the heart of the defence that created an opening for the excellent Juan Mata, though his shot was well blocked by Tim Howard.

Mata’s influence soon grew and after some intelligent link up play in the box he released Cesar Azpilicueta on the by-line, but the Spaniard’s drilled cross evaded every defender and attacker inside the six-yard box.

The battle of the playmakers continued to swing one way and another as Pienaar responded to Mata’s creativity by sending Jelavic into space on the left-hand side of the box. The Croatian’s powerful low shot across goal was tipped behind by Cech.

Then came the equaliser, as Fernando Torres played the ball in to Ramires inside the box. His left-footed cross found Lampard arriving at the back post and the 34-year-old made no mistake, nodding a header across Howard and into the corner of the net.

The second period saw a more threatening Chelsea side attack with real purpose. David Luiz, playing in midfield, saw his expertly lifted pass to Torres squandered, before the Spaniard again contrived to waste his good initial work with Mata by straying offside.

Despite Chelsea replacing the injured Cech with Ross Turnball at half-time, it took Everton over 15 minutes to test the back-up goalkeeper, as a hooked attempt at goal required the former Middlesbrough man to catch on his goal line.

And though Jelavic beat Turnball with a cute header from a Leighton Baines cross, the crossbar came to Chelsea’s rescue.

That warning prompted the visitors to renew their forays forward.

A half-cleared knockdown from Eden Hazarad found its way to Mata, who drew a good save from Howard.

Lampard, though, sharp as a knife, pounced on the loose ball to drill into the net.

A series of substitutions did little to bring Everton back into the game and Chelsea should in truth have netted a third were it not for Sylvain Distin’s superb last ditch challenge on Torres.

But Benitez has instilled a renewed determination to the European champions and they were never in danger of relinquishing their lead, even as Jelavic missed his kick inside the six-yard box, as they recorded the first away win at Goodison Park this season.

Sun 30 December, 2012
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