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Suarez restrains Chelsea as Silva inspires City comeback

ESPN staff
November 11, 2012 « Deleted Sterling tweet sparks confusion over future | Chartbeat test »
Luis Suarez scored a poacher's effort late on to steal a point for Liverpool © Getty Images
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Chelsea lost ground on the top two in the Premier League title race after they were held to a 1-1 draw against Liverpool on Sunday, as Manchester City came from behind to defeat Tottenham and West Ham edged out Newcastle United thanks to a former Magpies captain.

At Stamford Bridge, Liverpool's irrepressible forward Luis Suarez scored midway through the second half to seal a draw against Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea side - the Uruguayan's header from a Jamie Carragher flick-on at a corner cancelling out John Terry's first-half opener from a similar deadball situation.

The Blues will be disappointed to have dropped two points at home in a game they dominated up until the final 20 minutes - although Di Matteo may have more pressing concerns, after Terry was stretchered off with a serious-looking injury just minutes after claiming his 50th career goal for the west London club.

Terry looked set to enjoy a dream return to action after his domestic four-match ban when he powered the European champions ahead from a corner at Stamford Bridge, beating his marker to plant Juan Mata's header past Brad Jones. But the Blues captain then collided accidentally with the man at the centre of football's other race scandal, Suarez, forcing him off on a stretcher in clear pain.

Even without their captain Chelsea continued to dominate proceedings, as Liverpool struggled to retain possession in midfield as their trio of Nuri Sahin, Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard failed to really establish themselves. The home side had chances to double their advantage but, when Mata blazed a clear opportunity over the bar in injury time, they were forced to settle for their slender advantage at the break.

The second half initially saw more of the same, as John Obi Mikel and Fernando Torres both went agonisingly close. But the introduction of Suso for the unremarkable Sahin changed Liverpool's approach, as the visitors began to look more dangerous on the counter-attack.

In the end their equalising goal came from a corner, however, as Jamie Carragher rose highest in the box to flick on the delivery - perfectly redirecting it for Suarez, who had nipped around the back of the last defender to head high into the roof of the net from little more than a yard out.

Di Matteo immediately made substitutions in pursuit of a win that, up to that point, had looked firmly on the cards - but Liverpool had just as many chances to steal a barely-warranted winner, with Suarez and Jose Enrique both foiled by Petr Cech in the dying moments as the game ultimately finished level.

The draw prevented Chelsea from climbing back into second place, as they recorded their third league game without a win to lie three points behind Manchester United.

Earlier in the day, David Silva's magic left boot helped Manchester City move back to within two points of neighbours United at the top of the table, coming from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Roberto Mancini's defending champions remain unbeaten in the league this season, extending that run to 11 games thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, the latter of whom stepped off the bench to win the game with three minutes remaining. Defeat for Spurs, meanwhile, leaves them three points adrift of fourth-placed Everton.

There was something of a shock in Andre Villas-Boas' starting XI as midweek hat-trick hero Jermain Defoe dropped to the bench, with Emmanuel Adebayor and Clint Dempsey preferred as Spurs' attacking options. Mancini also made a big call, leaving Mario Balotelli out of the matchday squad for footballing reasons.

It was City who enjoyed the faster start on home soil with Aguero threatening to get in behind the visitors' defence, but Spurs grew into the contest and struck in the 20th minute. Steven Caulker sent a powerful header goalwards from a free-kick, and the ball squirmed past Joe Hart who really should have got more of his body behind the ball.

Within moments City, who had a huge penalty shout rejected in their midweek draw with Ajax, were left frustrated again as Aguero flicked the ball inside William Gallas, only to see the referee wave away appeals despite the Frenchman's arm clearly stopping Aguero firing off a shot on goal.

Regardless of that moment, City should have levelled just before the break as Silva broke the offside trap. His rolled ball into Carlos Tevez was begging to be buried, but the Argentine's effort was tame.

More frustration followed for City after the interval as Aguero this time found himself clean through, only to completely lose his footing as he attempted to control. Aguero's goal - City's equaliser - came from a much more difficult chance moments later, fooling Caulker as he faked to shoot with his right foot before rolling past Brad Friedel with his left.

The momentum was now with City, and Dzeko went close with a header at a corner before Silva clipped a shot agonisingly wide of the far post. Aguero then drove straight at Friedel with five minutes remaining, but a winner did eventually arrive.

It was Silva who produced the class as he dinked the ball over Tottenham's flat back four, which lined up along the edge of the area, and Dzeko ran in behind to volley high past Friedel for yet another dramatic winner.

Kevin Nolan scored the winner against his former side © PA Photos
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Former skipper Kevin Nolan returned to haunt his old club as West Ham condemned Newcastle to a first defeat in six games, winning 1-0 at St James' Park.

Nolan's 39th-minute strike, so typical of the goals he once scored for the Magpies, was enough to edge a tight encounter in which the visitors enjoyed the better of the first half but had to survive a stern examination after the break.

Newcastle were once again far from their best, but did create more than enough chances to get something out of the game and would have done but for some poor finishing and the resilience of goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, who produced fine saves from Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa.

Opposite number Tim Krul prevented Andy Carroll from opening his West Ham account with a 72nd-minute save with the visitors threatening on the counter-attack.

But ultimately it was Sam Allardyce, who was sacked by Newcastle after just eight months at the helm, who was smiling as his successor Alan Pardew was left to bemoan another disjointed display and defeat at the hands of his former employers in front of a largely disappointed crowd of 51,855.

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