Chelsea 2 Manchester United 1: Blues rally for comeback win as Nemanja Vidic is sent off

Chelsea's Marinho David Luiz (arms raised) celebrates scoring his team's opening goal.
Chelsea's Marinho David Luiz (arms raised) celebrates scoring his team's opening goal.
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CHELSEA kept their slim Barclays Premier League title hopes alive tonight.

They came from behind to beat leaders Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, closing the gap between the clubs to 12 points with the Londoners - who have a game in hand - still having to go to Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney put United on course for what would have been their first win at Chelsea for nine years.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Rooney was lucky to be playing after escaping a ban following his clash Wigan's James McCarthy on Saturday but he showed the best side of his game by firing the visitors in front with his fifth goal in five league games.

United deserved their lead but Chelsea should have equalised before half-time when Branislav Ivanovic failed to control the ball from point-blank range, allowing Edwin van der Sar to save.

But if Chelsea had gone to sleep for Rooney’s goal, United did the same as David Luiz levelled in the 54th minute.

Michael Essien was allowed to cross from the left, Ivanovic beat Nemanja Vidic in the air, and the ball fell for a completely-unmarked Luiz to lash home first time.

The Brazilian then escaped punishment for a blatant check on Hernandez before he was booked for clattering into the back of Rooney.

Another pre-meditated block on Rooney moments later should have seen the defender sent off.

And United’s sense of injustice intensified when Yuri Zhirkov was tripped in the box to produce a penalty, which Frank Lampard lashed home for the winner.

Vidic was sent off for a second bookable offence at the death and misses this weekend’s trip to Liverpool.