Miller dismissed in Chelsea win
Comfortable win for Blues
By Hayley Paterson. Last Updated: December 8, 2007 5:50pm
Miller: Off for slapping Pizarro
A free header from confidence-stricken Andrei Shevchenko and a penalty from Frank Lampard were too much for 10-men Sunderland as Liam Miller was dismissed for slapping Claudio Pizarro.
The home side maintained possession from the off as Sunderland struggled to make any kind of impact in the final third, with Kenwyn Jones the lone man upfront for the Black Cats.
Chelsea took the lead through an inch-perfect cross from Salomon Kalou which fell to Shevchenko unmarked at the back post to head home in the 23rd minute.
The home side doubled the lead in the second half when Brazilian Alex's shirt was pulled by Danny Higginbotham in the box. Frank Lampard dispatched the penalty to make it 2-0 (75).
As Sunderland began to get a little more into the game, an off-the-ball collision between Claudio Pizarro and Liam Miller saw the Irish international slap the Peruvian and given a straight red.
But on the replay, the Chelsea striker appeared to cleverly disguise a knee into Miller which the referee failed to see, and he gave the Sunderland man his marching orders in the 88th minute.
From the whistle Shevchenko looked sharp, showing composure with his first touch to release Ashley Cole in the opening minute.
Sunderland keeper Darren Ward punched clear Cole's cross as far as Shaun Wright-Phillips but the England winger's disappointing effort flew wide.
Kalou, who had escaped the attention of Danny Higginbotham, headed a Joe Cole corner at the crossbar as Chelsea persevered with their early assault
Wright-Phillips saw a penalty shout turned down by referee Peter Walton who was unmoved by his 11th-minute tangle with Dean Whitehead.
Sunderland were struggling to escape their own half and when they did manage to break free they ran down blind alleys before being relieved of the ball.
It was fitting that the impressive Kalou was the provider as Chelsea eased ahead in the 23rd minute.
Juliano Belletti picked out Kalou from long range and the forward sent a rapid cross to the far post where an unmarked Shevchenko was free to nod home.
The goal took some of the urgency out of Chelsea's game but with Sunderland unable to keep hold of the ball and proving toothless in attack, they were never under serious threat
Kenwyne Jones produced their first shot in the 34th minute but keeper Carlo Cudicini made light work of a tame effort.
The Kalou-Shevchenko axis nearly produced a second but the Ukraine marksman was off target this time.
The second half was greeted with constant rain as Chelsea emerged from the interval with greater urgency.
A slick manoeuvre by Shevchenko saw the ball dart across goal but no one was there to capitalise and then the Ukrainian himself over-ran a Joe Cole pass with the net beckoning.
He continued to make mincemeat of Sunderland's feeble defending, ghosting around Paul McShane and attempting to tee-up Kalou.
Mirroring the first half, the Black Cats appeared to have weathered the initial storm but with little to offer in attack themselves, the game once again resulted in dull stalemate.
Chelsea needed the help of Walton to secure the cushion their dominance deserved with the official harshly awarding a penalty against Higginbotham whose tug on Alex was minimal.
Lampard converted from the spot and Sunderland were dealt another blow with three minutes to go.
Pizarro appeared to aim a stamp towards Miller's foot and the Black Cats midfielder reacted by shoving the Chelsea substitute in the face.
Walton reached for the red card for an incident that is sure to incur the wrath of manager Roy Keane.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||2|
|8||Shots off Target||7|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|