LONDON (AP) – Timo Werner ended his two-month scoring drought with the winning goal as Chelsea beat West Ham 1-0 in the English Premier League and pulled three points clear of its London rival in the race for Champions League qualification on Saturday.
The Germany striker stroked in a close-range finish from Ben Chilwell’s low cross in the 43rd minute for his first goal in 12 appearances in all competitions in an underwhelming first season at Chelsea. It was only his second league goal since Nov. 7.
Werner missed an equally good chance early in the second half, in front of a virtually empty net to the amazement of Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel on the touchline, but it didn’t prove costly at the Olympic Stadium.
West Ham’s chances of a comeback all but disappeared when Fabián Balbuena was red-carded in the 81st for following through on a clearance by raking his studs down the calf of Chilwell, in an incident that saw the referee use the pitchside monitor to make his call.
Chelsea, which was tied for points with West Ham before kickoff, strengthened its place in fourth – the final Champions League qualification position in the league. Both sides had been boosted earlier Saturday by Liverpool, a rival for the top four, conceding in stoppage time to draw at home with Newcastle 1-1.
Liverpool dropped four points behind Chelsea with five games remaining.
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