Chelsea rally to beat United 2-1 in thriller

London: Chelsea blew the title race wide open when they came from behind to beat Premier league leaders Manchester United 2-1 thanks to Frank Lampard`s controversial 79th-minute penalty at Stamford Bridge.

United had deservedly led through Wayne Rooney`s 29th-minute strike but Chelsea`s Brazilian defender David Luiz equalised nine minutes into the second half with his first goal for the club since joining from Benfica in the January window.

The champions, unbeaten at home against United since 2002, surged forward after that and took the points when Chris Smalling tripped substitute Yuri Zhirkov and Lampard fired home a penalty United manager Alex Ferguson described as "soft."

United remain top on 60 points, four clear of Arsenal but with the London side now having a game in hand. Manchester City are third on 50 with champions Chelsea up to fourth on 48.

"It was a great performance by us. We didn`t deserve that," Ferguson told reporters. "It`s three years in a row the referees` decisions have changed the game.”

"I`m proud of my players tonight, they`ve endured a lot of decisions against them and they`ve done their best."

Bureau Report

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