LONDON – Didier Drogba scored twice in the first 17 minutes and Chelsea boosted its lead to seven points atop the English Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
While Chelsea stretched its unbeaten string to 13, Manchester United escaped with a 0-0 draw against Tottenham after referee Mark Clattenburg declined to allow an 89th-minute goal that television replays clearly indicated crossed the line.
The disputed non-goal came when Man United keeper Roy Carroll allowed a long-range shot from Pedro Mendes slip through his hands. He scrambled to retrieve the ball, but not before it was about a meter over the line.
Tottenham manager Martin Jol called the disallowed goal ‘a disgrace.’
‘This was two foot (over the line),’ said Jol, who said officials were not in position to see the play.
‘I can understand it, but it’s still a disgrace playing football in 2005. We have so much technology in the world and in football you have to watch this after the game. It’s a pity.’
Arsenal also settled for a draw – 1-1 at Highbury against Manchester City. Freddie Ljungberg got the equalizer for the Gunners in the 75th to salvage a point after Shaun Wright-Phillips scored in the 31st. With 16 games to play, the results improved Chelsea to 55 points, seven more than Arsenal and 11 better than Manchester United. Fourth-place Everton is 12 back with 43 points.
Man United manager Alex Ferguson also acknowledged Mendes’ shot was a goal and called for more technology.
‘It just adds weight to the point about technology and cameras,’ Ferguson said. ‘I think most people in the game have seen that the progress that has to be made in the game is in television cameras, and I think that proved it tonight.’
‘That could have put them 1-nil in front and won the game for them.’
In two other Premier League games, it was: Birmingham City 1, Bolton 2; Everton 2, Portsmouth 1. In the League Championship – the old first division – Wigan defeated Wolves 2-0.