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Premier League: Tottenham 1 Chelsea 1

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 Dec 2011

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Tottenham and Chelsea played out an enthralling 1-1 draw in their London derby at White Hart Lane on Thursday.

Emmanuel Adebayor latched onto a Gareth Bale cross to open the scoring for the hosts after eight minutes, but Daniel Sturridge’s goal 15 minutes later – his ninth of the English Premier League season – was enough to secure a point for Chelsea.

Spurs started at the frenetic pace for which they are famed and feared, dominating the early exchanges.

Bale showed no ill effects from the sprained ankle that kept him out of Spurs 1-0 win over Sunderland on Sunday, and the Welsh winger tormented the Chelsea rearguard early.

A flying run down the left flank in the eighth minute saw him cruise past a toiling Jose Bosingwa before crossing low into the box, where Adebayor peeled away from John Terry, beating Petr Cech to the ball to slot home.

Stung by the early setback, Chelsea immediately looked to strike back.

A firmly hit long-range drive from Juan Mata warmed the palms of Brad Friedel, but Sturridge blazed the rebound over the bar from a promising position.

Chelsea were back on level terms 23 minutes in when a deflected Didier Drogba flick was gathered by Ashley Cole in an advanced position on the left-hand side.

The England international’s cross found Sturridge unmarked at the back post and he volleyed the ball beyond a helpless Friedel.

There was controversy, however, as Spurs felt Cole should have been penalised for handball in the build-up to the goal, but referee Howard Webb waved away the home side’s protests.

The momentum was very much with Chelsea, and the west Londoners came within inches of taking the lead with their next meaningful attack.

Bosingwa’s high looping cross found Drogba at the far post, and the Ivorian’s venomous left-footed strike crashed off the woodwork.

Bad luck was to follow for Andre Villas-Boas’ men, with first Branislav Ivanovic and then Jon Obi Mikel having to be replaced after sustaining injuries.

Spurs sought to re-assert their dominance, but a tame Adebayor effort was the clearest chance they could muster, as both sides went into the break on level terms.

Harry Redknapp introduced Roman Pavlyuchenko in place of the quiet Rafael van der Vaart in a bid to give his side more of a presence up front, but it was Chelsea who began the second period with greater purpose with Drogba, Raul Meireles and Sturridge all firing over from range.

The home crowd were trying to inspire their team through sheer noise, and the response was impressive.

Adebayor had the ball in the net only to be denied by the referee’s whistle, and then the Togolese striker headed a dangerous Kyle Walker cross just wide.

The visitors still looked dangerous on the counter, however, with Sturridge looking the greatest threat.

The former Manchester City striker cut inside from the right once more, but his low shot was saved comfortably by Friedel.

Bale blazed over from the edge of the box for Spurs, then Sandro’s deflected effort had Cech at full stretch before William Gallas bundled a near-post effort from a corner just wide.

Chelsea also had their chances as Ramires headed wide after finding himself unmarked by Mata’s pinpoint free-kick delivery, before substitute Oriol Romeu had Friedel scrambling with a low drive.

Adebayor was denied brilliantly by John Terry’s timely intervention at the death, with both sides destined to share the spoils.

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