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Lampard spares Chelsea the blues

Frank Lampard provided a timely reminder of his value to Chelsea by scoring twice as his side reclaimed third place in the Premier League by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Everton yesterday.


Everton’s Steven Pienaar and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard vie for the ball at Goodison Park yesterday. Pic/Getty Images.

The 34-year-old England midfielder, whose contract expires at the end of the season, cancelled out Steven Pienaar’s opener shortly before half-time and then claimed the winner with 18 minutes remaining at Goodison Park.

Victory moved interim manager Rafael Benitez’s side above Tottenham Hotspur into third place, four points behind second-place Manchester City and with a game in hand, while Everton remain on sixth position, three points below the top four. Defeat prevented Everton from asserting their Champions League credentials, but they had started the game in menacing fashion and took the lead after just 63 seconds.

Victor Anichebe met stand-in right-back Phil Jagielka’s floated cross with a header that came back off the left-hand post and Pienaar charged in to spear the ball past Petr Cech, who was making his 400th Chelsea appearance.

Nikica Jelavic then hit the same portion of woodwork with a free-kick, before Lampard equalised in the 42nd minute when he met Ramires’ cross with a precisely directed downward header.

Chelsea lost Cech to an apparent ankle injury at half-time and his replacement, Ross Turnbull, was beaten by a Jelavic header in the 69th minute, only for the crossbar to come to his rescue.

The winning goal arrived three minutes later, Lampard nudging the ball into the roof of the net after Tim Howard saved from Juan Mata, to give the Blues a fourth consecutive league win. Everton’s best chance of an equaliser fell to Jelavic in injury time, but the Croatian striker got his legs in a tangle and could not make meaningful contact with Leighton Baines’ cross.

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