Belfast Telegraph

Portsmouth put to sword by ruthless Chelsea

Portsmouth 0 Chelsea 5

Chelsea cut Manchester United's lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to one point with an impressive 5-0 hammering of crisis club Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

A David James howler allowed Didier Drogba to tap into an empty net for Chelsea's opener before Florent Malouda grabbed two second-half goals in 10 minutes.

Drogba's neat finish and Frank Lampard's late goal sealed the win against a Portsmouth side now one step closer to almost certain relegation.

Chelsea were the most dominant team in the early exchanges and Deco combined well with Drogba before the Ivory Coast striker fired a weak shot wide.

Pompey started to get a foothold on the game as the pitch cut up under the rain but found themselves 1-0 down thanks to a James howler in the 32nd minute.

The England 'keeper raced out of his box to make a routine clearance after Deco tried to play through Drogba but James completely missed the ball, leaving the Ivory Coast man to tap into an empty net.

James was left with his hands on his hips as the Chelsea fans ridiculed the stopper for his mistake.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti was forced into a change soon after when he brought on Alex for Ricardo Carvalho, who went off clutching his ankle.

The game came close to boiling point soon after when Pompey full back Ricardo Rocha had to be carried off after colliding with Malouda.

Malouda then squared up to Hermann Hreidarsson, who claimed the Frenchman had used his elbow in the challenge, before being booked by referee Lee Mason.

Rocha, meanwhile, was carried off on a stretcher after a four-minute stoppage while wearing an oxygen mask.

After his booking, Malouda was booed every time he touched the ball and he soon plunged the Pompey fans into further misery when he picked up Lampard's pass and beat James from a tight angle to double the Blues’ advantage.

Malouda then scored his second of the night when he reacted first to James' save from Lampard's shot to coolly slot the ball home to make it 3-0.

Drogba was then played in by John Obi Mikel and the striker held his nerve to slot past James from inside the box.

Lampard completed Pompey's misery when he finished from Drogba's knock down in the dying minutes to make it 5-0 and signal a warning to United.

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