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MATCH REPORT

Spoils shared in London derby

Daniel Sturridge cancelled out Emmanuel Adebayor’s opening in a tight London derby, which saw both sides fail to gain ground in the hunt for a top-four finish.

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Tottenham 1

(Adebayor – 8)

Chelsea 1

(Sturridge – 23)

Daniel Sturridge cancelled out Emmanuel Adebayor’s opening in a tight London derby, which saw both sides fail to gain ground in the hunt for a top-four finish.

Both sides had chances to win the game in the second-half but a share of the spoils seemed a fair result of the evening.

Manager Harry Redknapp was forced into just one chance following the 1-0 win over Sunderland at the weekend, Gareth Bale coming in for the injured Aaron Lennon.

And the Welshman began the evening in spectacular fashion with his diagonal run across the final third opening up the Chelsea defence until captain John Terry did well to block the winger’s effort.

However, there was no stopping the marauding youngster minutes later with Branislav Ivanovic and Jose Bosingwa powerless to stop the rampaging winger after some good work from Sandro.

Bale fired a low-cross in the 18-year box which Emmanuel Adebayor slammed home past the ensuing Petr Cech.

Three minutes later and it could have all been all-level, Brad Friedel spilling Juan Mata’s low drive into the path of Sturridge but the England man could only fire over the bar with Ledley King asserting enough pressure to put the youngster off his stride.

And the Blues ground out the equaliser on the 23rd minute, Didier Drogba found Ashley Cole on the left. The left-back controlled the ball, with a hint of handball, before firing low to Sturridge to tap-home from six-yards out.

Drogba rattled the woodwork from close range as the away side began to push for a second goal.

Cech got down well to deny Adebayor a second of the evening at the end of the first-half as Chelsea were forced into early changes, Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel forced off for Paulo Ferreira and Oriel Romeu.

Roman Pavlyuchenko was introduced at half-time at the expense of Rafael Van der Vaart, who limped off with a hamstring problem and isn’t expected to be available until the New Year.

Yet, it was the Blues who started the second half on the front-foot with Sturridge, Ramires and John Terry all failing to find a way past Friedel.

At the other end, Adebayor and Sandro failed to get their respective headed efforts on target before the game looked set for a climatic end.

Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric both combined well to set-up Bale only for the 21-year-old to fire wide while Cech somehow clawed out Sandro’s deflected effort before William Gallas turned the resulting corner just wide at the near post.

Ramires failed to hit the target with a free header from eight-yards out while Romeu drilled just wide as Chelsea went to land a knock-out blow.

And in the dying embers of the game, Spurs came closest to take all three points from the enthralling encounter.

Modric found Pavlyuchenko who played in Bale. He drove across the 18-yard box before picking out Adebayor clean through on goal.

The Togolese forward did everything right, slotting his effort past Cech. However, the powerful front-man didn’t bank on Terry sliding back to cover the Chelsea keeper and the England captain did excellently to turn his effort wide of the post and ensure Andre Villas-Boas’ took a point back to Stamford Bridge.

What Redknapp had to say

“We started well. For the first 20 or 25 minutes or so we were fantastic,” he told Sky Sports.

“We got the goal and then when they scored I felt they dominated much more of the game second half.

“It was difficult. We lost Rafa at half time and suddenly we lost the balance of our team.

“We ended up having to stick Luka out wide, making it difficult in the middle of the park. They had an extra man and they will play through you. Three in there will outplay two most of the time.

“Without Aaron it’s difficult to find a balance to the team, to find somebody who can play wide right to play that system.

“They had good chances, we had great chances…we could have easily won it. But certainly a point was a fair result.”

Man of the match

Sandro slotted in alongside Scott Parker almost seamlessly for only their fourth start of the season together. The Brazilian was imperious in the centre of the park, breaking up play and getting forward well to support the attack when the opportunity presented itself. A personal highlight was his go-go-gadget head moment on the by-line, putting his neck on the line to ensure he didn’t concede a throw-in in a dangerous position.

Moment of the match

Emmanuel Adebayor’s late effort was fantastically cleared off the line by Chelsea captain John Terry. The England international has come under a lot of scrutiny recently but, credit to him, he performed admirably at White Hart Lane despite every touch of the ball being welcomed to a chorus of boos. Fantastically read the situation for the Togolese strikers shot and did excellent to work his way back behind Peter Cech to ensure the Blues didn’t lose ground on Tottenham in the race for a top-four finish. 

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