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Tottenham draws 1-1 with Chelsea to stay 3rd

Updated: December 22, 2011, 17:26

Tottenham Hotspur's William Galls, left, goes for the ball with Chelsea's Didier Drogba during their English Premier League soccer match at Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium in London, Thursday, Dec.  22, 2011. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON(AP) Tottenham maintained the edge over Chelsea in the Premier League's top four, drawing 1-1 with its London rival on Thursday to retain a two-point cushion in third.

Emmanuel Adebayor fired the hosts ahead after eight minutes but the sting was taken out of Tottenham's fast start when Daniel Sturridge leveled 15 minutes later.

Despite a double injury blow for Chelsea in the first half - losing both Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel - Tottenham lacked the fluency to produce a winner against the makeshift visitors.

Chelsea's second successive draw left it just a point above fifth-place Arsenal and 11 points behind leader Manchester City.

But the point was only protected thanks to a stoppage-time deflection by Chelsea captain John Terry after Adebayor's shot had beaten goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Terry's decisive intervention came on a night of intense scrutiny, a day after he become the first footballer in England to face a criminal charge for racially abusing an opponent.

With Terry's name jeered constantly by Tottenham fans, even Chelsea's official Twitter feed described him as its "under-fire skipper.''

But he kept his cool throughout as the Blues recovered from initially being completely overwhelmed at White Hart Lane, where they have not won since 2005.

There was an early reward for Tottenham's dominance.

Back after missing Sunday's win over Sunderland through injury, Gareth Bale easily went past Jose Bosingwa on the left flank and sent a loss cross into the penalty area.

Cech, who was at fault for the equalizer Chelsea conceded at Wigan at the weekend, failed to grasp the cross, allowing Adebayor to beat him to the ball and score his sixth goal in as many games.

There was an immediate chance to level, but Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel repelled Juan Mata's long-range strike and Daniel Sturridge missed the target from the follow-up.

After allowing Chelsea to regain a foothold in the game, the equalizer came after 23 minutes.

Rafael van der Vaart's attempted sliding tackle diverted the ball onto Ashley Cole's arm and it fell kindly for the Chelsea full back, who crossed for Sturridge.

The England striker easily evaded his marker, Ledley King, to rush forward unchallenged and score his 10th goal of the season. Tottenham's appeals for handball against Cole were waved away by referee Howard Webb.

Ivanovic was soon forced off with an apparent thigh injury. With Alex out of favor and not even on the bench, Paolo Ferreira had to come on at right back with Bosingwa shifting to central defense alongside Terry.

While Ivanovic was now tasked with thwarting Bale, the winger's influence was on the wane in the latter stages of the half as Tottenham was missing the injured Aaron Lennon's pace on the right wing.

Chelsea was forced to make a second change just before half time, with Mikel limping off with a groin problem. But rather than bringing on Frank Lampard, Oriol Romeu was deployed in midfield.

Chelsea, though, remained assertive after the break, with Drogba heading over and Terry's header blocked early on.

Adebayor did find the net again in the 58th with the top of his shoulder, but the goal was disallowed for offside, and minutes later the Togo striker headed wide.

Uncertain Tottenham defending gave Sturridge an opening and, despite Friedel failing to hold onto the shot, no Chelsea players were lurking to seize the loose ball.

Chasing a win, Fernando Torres was brought on in place of Drogba to make his first appearance in two weeks but couldn't produce his first league goal since September.

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