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Cole Lifts Chelsea in Champions League
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Joe Cole scored in the 29th minute to give Chelsea a 1-0 win over Liverpool on Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.

Cole knocked in a cross from Didier Drogba. Ricardo Carvalho gathered the ball in his own half and passed to Drogba on the right. The Ivory Coast striker raced ahead and shook off Daniel Agger before rolling the ball across the penalty area for Cole. The second leg will be Tuesday at Anfield.

Chelsea is trying to win four major trophies this season. The two-time defending Premier League champions already have won the League Cup and trail Manchester United by three points in the English league, with a game at Stamford Bridge on May 9 to come.

The goal was Chelsea's first against Liverpool in the Champions League. Last year in the group stage, the teams played to a pair of 0-0 ties. The year before in the semifinals, they played to another 0-0 tie in the first leg. Liverpool then won 1-0 in the second leg at Anfield to reach the final, where the five-time champions beat AC Milan on penalties.

Cole's goal was only his second for Chelsea this season. The attacking midfielder, who returned this month after a four-week absence with a broken foot, also scored in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Blackburn in the League Cup in October.

Frank Lampard had a chance to give Chelsea the lead in the eighth minute at Stamford Bridge, but Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina made a good save. A minute later, Andriy Shevchenko curled a shot over the bar.

Dirk Kuyt had Liverpool's best chance in the first half with a 22nd-minute header that was saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. Kuyt had another header in the 50th.

Steven Gerrard then sent a hard shot on Chelsea's goal in the 53rd. John Arne Riise's long throw-in into the area from the left was headed away by John Obi Mikel, but Gerrard got the ball and Cech made the save.

Liverpool striker Peter Crouch entered as a substitute a minute earlier, and his presence immediately invigorated the Liverpool attack.

Lampard had another chance in the 81st, but his hard shot from the left was saved by Reina

Both teams had one last good chance in injury time. Agger first sent a long, hard shot that Cech saved, and Drogba headed wide a minute later off Lampard's cross.

Man United, which beat AC Milan 3-2 in Tuesday's other Champions League semifinal, will face Chelsea in the English FA Cup final May 19. They could then meet again in the Champions League final on May 23 in Athens, Greece.

Man United got two goals from Wayne Rooney and another from Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford. Kaka scored both goals for Milan, a six-time European Cup champion. The second leg is next Wednesday at Milan.

(China Daily via AP April 26, 2007)

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