Chelsea bounce back to beat Reading

SECOND HALF CHARGE: Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba scored for the Blues while Carlos Tevez set up a goal on his Manchester United debut at Fratton Park

AFP , LONDON

Fri, Aug 17, 2007 - Page 22

Chelsea came back from a goal down to beat Reading as their title rivals Manchester United were held to another draw in the second round of English Premier League matches on Wednesday.

To pile on the misery for champions United, their star winger Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off for violent conduct as they drew 1-1 at Portsmouth.

Meanwhile Chelsea, 1-0 down at half-time, came storming out of the blocks to score two in quick succession at Reading, maintaining their perfect start to the season.

Manchester City beat Derby County 1-0 in former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson's first Premier League home match.

Elsewhere, hosts Fulham beat Bolton 2-1, Birmingham drew 2-2 with visitors Sunderland and Wigan won 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough.

Everton lead the table after two games, ahead of Manchester City and Chelsea, all on six points.

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp has got the better of Manchester United in his past three seasons in charge at Fratton Park.

But a draw was good enough this time around in a match that saw two red cards.

United threw Argentina striker Carlos Tevez into action for his debut in place of the injured Wayne Rooney, and he set up Paul Scholes for the opener in the 15th minute.

But striker Benjani Mwaruwari stormed through the defense to head in a 53rd-minute equalizer.

Pompey's Sulley Muntari was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 83rd minute, before United winger Ronaldo was given a straight red card and will now miss three games.

Chelsea, a goal down at half time, came from behind at the Madejski Stadium after Blues boss Jose Mourinho shook things up at the interval.

It was Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech's first game back at the Madejski since fracturing his skull there in October.

And it was his error which handed Reading their goal.

Cech leapt through the crowd 30 minutes in but missed his catch, allowing Cameroonian defender Andre Bikey to stab the ball in.

Mourinho had seen enough at half-time and replaced former Reading favorite Steve Sidwell and Paulo Ferreira with John Obi Mikel and Claudio Pizarro and the attacking gamble paid off within minutes.

England midfielder Frank Lampard squeezed through the defense to knock the ball under US goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in the 47th minute.

Three minutes later, Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba curled the ball around Hahnemann from the edge of the penalty box.

Reading midfielder Kalifa Cisse was sent off on his debut for a second bookable offence.

The Eriksson revolution at Manchester City continued at Eastlands, where they beat last season's Championship play-off winners Derby.

The Citizens have advertised Swedish manager Eriksson's coming with posters around Manchester reading "Ol' blue eyes is back" -- and he was made to feel more than welcome after a second straight victory and clean sheet.

Much has been made of Eriksson's wealth of foreign signings, but it was a home-grown City player who scored their first home league goal since New Year's Day.

Midfielder Michael Johnson, 19, playing in only his 12th competitive game, scored in the 43rd minute to neuter the Rams.

Sunderland edged out Birmingham for the Championship title last season.

But it was honors even at St Andrews on Wednesday in the managerial battle of former Manchester United teammates Steve Bruce and Roy Keane in an exciting 2-2 draw.

And for the second match running, Keane's Sunderland scored in the final minute.

Hosts Birmingham took the lead through an own goal by defender Paul McShane in the 28th minute.

Michael Chopra scored for the Black Cats for the second game running with a 75th-minute equalizer.

Scotland striker Gary O'Connor thought he had scored the winner for the Blues with eight minutes left but Stern John scored in the last minute from close range.

At Craven Cottage, Bolton suffered their second straight defeat, despite taking the lead against hosts Fulham.

Iceland striker Heidar Helguson scored in the 12th minute for the Trotters.

But the Cottagers equalized 11 minutes later through Northern Ireland forward David Healy, bagging his second goal in two games.

And Russia midfielder Alexei Smertin scored what proved to be the winner three minutes later.

Middlesbrough also slumped to a second straight defeat as they were beaten 1-0 at Wigan Athletic's JJB Stadium.

French midfielder Antoine Sibierski forced the ball over the line in the 55th minute for the Latics' first win of the season.