April 28, 2013

Chelsea 2 Swansea 0

London (AP) -- Chelsea kept up its push for a Champions League spot by beating Swansea 2-0 on Sunday with both goals coming shortly before the halftime break.

Oscar put Chelsea ahead at Stamford Bridge in the 44th minute and Frank Lampard then doubled the lead from the penalty spot a minute later for his 201st goal for the club, moving him within one of Bobby Tambling's record.

Lampard began the game on the bench but came on because of a thigh injury for Oscar and scored his 15th goal of the season.

Last season's European champions were unable to add to their total in the second half as Rafael Benitez's side moved into third place in the Premier League, one point ahead of Arsenal and three clear of rival Tottenham in the battle for a place in the top four. Swansea extended its winless run to six games.

Chelsea's next Premier League clash comes at Manchester United before the London derby with Spurs on May 8 which could prove decisive in the Champions League qualifying race.

For now they remain on course to achieve their two remaining targets this term and they will seek to confirm their place in the Europa League final in Thursday's semifinal second leg with Basel.

John Obi Mikel was left on the substitutes' bench as referee Mark Clattenburg took charge of a Chelsea match for the first time since he was cleared of using "inappropriate language'' towards Mikel in October.

Chelsea's last home loss came on Jan. 9 against Swansea in the League Cup semifinal in a competition which saw the Blues' exit embarrassingly when Eden Hazard was sent off and banned for kicking a ball boy in the away leg.

The Belgian had the game's first shot, which Michel Vorm held comfortably, before the Swansea goalkeeper blocked a swerving effort from Demba Ba from 25 yards.

The hosts' opener came after John Terry intercepted a long ball forward before striding purposefully into midfield. He fed Lampard, who in turn found Oscar, and the Brazil forward drilled a shot across goal inside the far post.

Chelsea doubled their advantage before the interval after Juan Mata combined with Hazard before being pulled down by Leon Britton.

Lampard fired the ball low into the right corner and immediately Stamford Bridge erupted into chants of "sign him up''. The midfielder's contract expires after this season, and he has not been offered a new deal.

Reading 0 QPR 0

Reading (AP) -- Reading and Queens Park Rangers became the first teams to be relegated from the English Premier League this season after they drew 0-0 on Sunday.

Both teams needed a win to keep a slim hope alive of overtaking 17th-place Aston Villa, but neither side managed to create many clear-cut chances in a game that featured little creativity or entertainment value.

QPR is leaving the topflight after two years, having stayed up on the last day of last season.

"Next year it will be very difficult to get promoted, there are some good teams,'' QPR manager Harry Redknapp said. "For us to get promoted we have to come back in preseason and get super fit. The Championship is Saturday, midweek.

"It you are not fit enough you won't survive, you won't get out of that league. The players that are here have to work so hard and want to get super fit to compete next year.''

QPR have spent heavily since owner Tony Fernandes' takeover in 2011, and Redknapp is hopeful the Malaysian's investment will still be rewarded.

"I will get to see him this week and we will have some meetings and talk about things going forward, with the team with the players,'' Redknapp told Sky Sports TV. "I have said many times they are good people, so I would love to see them get back in the Premier league and build a team that will stay there next time.''

Reading is making an instant return to the second tier.

"I have told the players to bottle up the feeling as it is never nice to get relegated, and make sure they never feel that way again,'' Nigel Adkins, who was hired as Reading manager last month, told the BBC. "We must now build for the future and learn the lessons well from this season. We have to regroup and put ourselves in a position to challenge to get back into the Premier League. For any new promoted team, it is a challenge to stay up. The Premier League is a ruthless division.''

Wigan currently occupies the third spot in the relegation zone, and is two points from safety.

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