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Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009

Terry heads Chelsea past wasteful United

LONDON (AP) John Terry headed Chelsea to a 1-0 victory over Manchester United to extend the team's Premier League lead to five points on Sunday, despite rarely threatening the defending champions.

Chelsea had been frustrated by United for 76 minutes, but then profited from a contentiously awarded free kick when United midfielder Darren Fletcher was judged to have fouled defender Ashley Cole.

Frank Lampard whipped the ball into the penalty area and captain Terry connected with a glancing header to clinch Chelsea's 11th consecutive win in all competitions at Stamford Bridge.

"It was a bad decision, but there's nothing we can do about it. You lose faith in refereeing sometimes," said United manager Alex Ferguson, who is already facing a Football Association punishment for criticizing match officials. "Clearly, Darren Fletcher's won the ball — he never touched Cole who has jumped up in the air — and then (Didier) Drogba's pulled (Wes) Brown to the ground for the goal.

"The referee's position to make the decision was absolutely ridiculous, he can't see anything. He's got a Chelsea player (Joe Cole) standing right in front of him and he doesn't even move."

Chelsea's victory leaves it top of the table with 30 points, ahead of a two-week break for international matches.

"It is difficult to beat Manchester, it was in the balance over 90 minutes and difficult to score," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "We won on a set play, sometimes we have lost on set plays and today we won from this situation, which is important."

As for Chelsea's title prospects, the Italian said: "Until now we have done very well, but you have to count at the end of the season. We are in a good position in the Premiership and Champions League."

Second-place Arsenal, which has a game in hand, and Man United both have 25 points, while Tottenham is fourth with 22.

"We've dominated the game, we've had great chances to win the match — and that's our fault," Ferguson said. "We had great opportunities to get to the edge of the box and some really good chances in and around the box, but we should be finishing it off. We've only ourselves to blame in that respect."

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