Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea victory sets up thrilling end to Premiership season

Chelsea 2 Manchester United 1

Chelsea have beaten Premiership leaders Manchester United 2-1 at Stamford Bridge this afternoon to leave the two teams level on points as the race for the league reaches an explosive climax.

German midfielder Michael Ballack put Chelsea in front with a header on 45 minutes before Wayne Rooney pulled United level after an error from the Blues' keeper Ricardo Carvalho.

The second half saw Manchester United concede their first penalty of the season through a Michael Carrick handball which Ballack slotted home to win the game.

The result means Manchester United stay top on goal difference with just two games left to play.

In a nervy encounter, Joe Cole also hit the bar as United were forced to backtrack for much of the game. But as Alex Ferguson's team pushed for an equaliser in the final minutes, goal-line clearances from Ashley Cole and Andriy Shevchenko denied first Cristiano Ronaldo and then Darren Fletcher as Chelsea claimed a vital three points.

Speaking after the game, Chelsea captain John Terry reflected on the confidence boost among players following today's result.

"I think you saw today we want to win this Premiership to take it away from Manchester United. I think we showed people today we can match anybody," he said.

Goal hero Michael Ballack claimed he enjoyed the pressure of taking the crucial penalty that gave Chealsea the win.

"For me it is no problem, I can handle the pressure - it is always a good situation," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

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