MIDDLESBROUGH 1 CHELSEA 1
By planetfootball.com. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
CHELSEA missed out on a chance to go top of the table, but will probably settle for a point from an absorbing clash with Middlesbrough.
The home side maintained their unbeaten record at The Riverside as both teams carved out a number of glorious opportunities, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink having three attempts in the opening exchanges.
Chelsea were the better side in the first period but fell behind when Emmanuel Petit was cautioned for a foul on Jonathan Greening and, from the free kick, Geremi, who came so close to joining the Londoners before being loaned to Boro, despatched a tremendous shot past Carlo Cudicini.
The equaliser arrived ten minutes later when Hasselbaink's rather flat corner fell kindly for the recalled John Terry, who capped an assured display with a simple finish.
After the break, Boro improved considerably and took the game to the visitors. Massimo Maccarone, who had missed a sitter and blocked a Mario Stanic effort on the line, was substituted at the interval, leaving Szilard Nemeth to go closest when touching a Geremi cross inches wide.
Nemeth also had what would have been a wonderful team goal wrongly disallowed for off-side.
The Blues mustered some impressive late pressure, but Mark Schwarzer was equal to efforts from the stylish Frank Lampard and substitute Boudewijn Zenden.