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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 29, 2007

Premier League: Drogba off as Blues held

John Terry was taken off with a suspected fractured cheekbone and Didier Drogba dismissed as Avram Grant had to make do with a 0-0 draw against Fulham in his first home game as Chelsea manager. Clint Dempsey almost put the Cottagers ahead with an early header at Stamford Bridge and England skipper Terry was hauled off injured in a difficult first half for the Blues. Chelsea had a host of chances after the break but Drogba, making his return from injury, was sent off for two bookings, and Paul Konchesky and Diomansy Kamara could have won it for Fulham late on. Leaders Arsenal consolidated their position with a hard-fought 1-0 win at West Ham. Robin van Persie rose well to head home in the 13th minute before Alexander Hleb was stretchered off injured after a heavy challenge from Mark Noble in a feisty first half. Robert Green tipped Van Persie's effort on to the post while Freddie Ljungberg's `goal' was disallowed for offside. Liverpool struggled to a 1-0 win at Wigan thanks to substitute Yossi Benayoun. Fernando Torres broke clear in the first half but his finish ricocheted off Chris Kirkland and bobbled just wide, while Marcus Bent was unlucky to have his goal ruled out for offside just after the break. And Benayoun gave the Reds a barely-deserved win with a cool finish after 75 minutes. Derby and Bolton, the division's bottom two, fought out a 1-1 draw at Pride Park. Kenny Miller (19) collected Steve Howard's brilliant reverse pass to sidefoot home, but Nicolas Anelka's deflected shot from the edge of the area levelled matters in the 32nd minute. There were 11 goals at Fratton Park as Portsmouth hammered Reading 7-4. Benjani Mwaruwari (seven) volleyed the home side ahead from close range after John Utaka's fine run and cross and added a second (37) with a low shot after dribbling past several players, before Liam Rosenior (45) gave the Royals hope after a goalmouth scramble. Dave Kitson (48) equalised after David James charged unwisely from his line but Hermann Hreidarsson (55) headed Pompey back in front, and James made amends with a penalty save from Nicky Shorey after Papa Bouba Diop handled, before Benjani completed his hat-trick (70). Niko Kranjcar (75) added a fifth with a header, Shane Long (79) deflected in for the visitors, Sean Davis (81) restored Portsmouth's three-goal advantage, Sulley Muntari added an injury-time penalty and Shorey rounded off the scoring in an amazing game. Two quickfire goals handed Blackburn a 2-1 win at Sunderland. David Bentley (53) gave Rovers the lead as he finished well after Roque Santa Cruz's shot deflected into his path, while the Paraguayan made it two from close range moments later following a defensive blunder. Grant Leadbitter's last-minute screamer was in vain for the Black Cats. Manchester City came from behind to beat Newcastle 3-1 at Eastlands in today's early kick-off. Obafemi Martins' fine control and finish put the visitors ahead after 29 minutes but City hit back through Martin Petrov's smart shot from a tight angle (38), Emile Mpenza's header (47) and Elano's thunderous 87th-minute free-kick.

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