• Premier League

Lampard denies Chelsea with late strike

ESPN staff
September 21, 2014
Frank Lampard refused to celebrate after scoring against his former club © PA Photos
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Frank Lampard denied his former club with a dramatic late strike as Manchester City fought back for a 1-1 draw against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.

Andre Schuerrle's 71st-minute goal looked to have given Chelsea all three points after City had been reduced to 10 men with Pablo Zabaleta sent off.

Match analysis

  • Man of the match: There were plenty of impressive performances but James Milner once again pressed his claims for a more regular role at Manchester City, capping off a fine display full of his usual endeavour by setting up Frank Lampard - of all people - for the equaliser.
  • Villain: City looked set for defeat with Andre Schuerrle putting Chelsea ahead just minutes after Pablo Zabaleta picked up a second yellow card for kicking Diego Costa - the Argentine will surely be thanking Lampard for bailing him out.
  • Key moment: It can only be Lampard's equaliser. City looked dead and buried before his opportunistic strike with five minutes to go.
  • Nick Atkin

Zabaleta picked up a second yellow for kicking Diego Costa and just minutes later Schuerrle capped off a flowing team move to tap in Eden Hazard's ball across the box at the back post.

However, Lampard - Chelsea's all-time record scorer with 211 goals - acrobatically turned in James Milner's cross from the left to level for City five minutes before time.

He refused to celebrate the goal, though, having left Stamford Bridge this summer after 13 years, and was given a standing ovation by the travelling Chelsea fans at the final whistle as he went over to show his appreciation.

The result ended Premier League leaders Chelsea's 100% record this season, but as they had arrived at the Etihad Stadium with a game plan not to lose it was probably, on balance, the most they deserved.

Having conceded a vast amount of territory and possession for over an hour, the dismissal of Zabaleta was the signal for Jose Mourinho's side to seize their chance and substitute Schuerrle did exactly that with 19 minutes left.

But Lampard's intervention ensured the gap to Chelsea at the top remained at five. Had it been eight there would have been critics writing off their challenge already.

City gave a debut to Eliaquim Mangala, their £32 million signing from Porto brought in to add greater depth at centre-back, but his job was made much easier playing alongside his irrepressible captain Vincent Kompany.

Diego Costa, over whom fitness doubts still persist after he was rested for the midweek Champions League draw with Schalke, arrived at the Etihad Stadium as the Premier League's leading scorer with seven goals in four matches.

Andre Schuerrle put Chelsea in front in the 71st minute © Getty Images
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As City dominated possession and territory it took until midway through the first half for their first real one-to-one but with Costa looking to drive into the left of the penalty area he was comfortably muscled off the ball by Kompany.

Aside from an optimistic handball shout against Yaya Youre from Cesc Fabregas' free-kick it was the closest Chelsea came to threatening.

In fact Costa's most significant first-half intervention saw him tangle with Edin Dzeko which could have resulted in a penalty but only led to a corner, which was easily repelled.

It was virtually one-way traffic in the first 45 minutes as Dzeko and Toure both failed to convert early headers, setting a dismal precedent for some mediocre set-piece play from City.

With Milner enjoying a bright start down the right-hand side City stroked the ball about confidently but found, like in their 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea last season, they were smothered as soon as they got within 10 yards of the penalty area.

Fernandinho sliced wide from outside area and Sergio Aguero, whom had earlier been left in a heap when John Terry went through the back of him unnoticed by referee Mike Dean, hooked over.

Toure almost unlocked Chelsea's watertight defence from a looping ball with outside of his right foot but it dropped agonisingly out of Aguero's reach.

City's pressure continued after the break as Fernandinho blazed wide and Aguero forced Thibaut Courtois to fumble a snap-shot before the advantage swung in Chelsea's favour with Zabaleta's dismissal.

Having already been booked for a first-half foul on Eden Hazard the Argentinian rashly dived in at Costa and the Chelsea striker reacted aggressively and Dean showed both yellow cards - which meant a premature departure for the City defender.

Manuel Pellegrini had no option but to shore up the right-back spot by sacrificing Aguero for Bacary Sagna but having got City where they wanted them, Chelsea applied what appeared to be the finishing blow as Hazard curled an inviting, low, cross to the far post where Schuerrle tapped home.

Costa had chances to put the game beyond City with a header straight at Joe Hart and then shooting against the post before Lampard, of all people, made him and his former employers pay.

Pablo Zabaleta was sent off after picking a second yellow card for a foul on Diego Costa © Getty Images
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