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Drogba reaches milestone as Chelsea improve Champions League hopes

March 11, 2012 -- Updated 0037 GMT (0837 HKT)
Didier Drogba scores his 100th EPL goal to seal three points for Chelsea at home to Stoke.
Didier Drogba scores his 100th EPL goal to seal three points for Chelsea at home to Stoke.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Chelsea win second match since Roberto Di Matteo took charge
  • 1-0 victory over 10-man Stoke with Didier Drogba scoring
  • Third-placed Tottenham lose 1-0 at Everton
  • Wolves and QPR lose and are relegation zone

(CNN) -- Didier Drogba scored his 100th English Premier League goal as Chelsea edged 10-man Stoke 1-0 at Stamford Bridge Saturday.

It was Roberto Di Matteo's first EPL game in charge since the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas and the timely victory improved their hopes of Champions League qualification.

It drew them level on points with Arsenal, who play Newcastle Monday. Both trail third-placed Tottenham by just four points.

Tottenham suffered their third straight league defeat in Saturday's late kickoff as they went down 1-0 at Everton.

Nikica Jelavic scored his first goal for Everton since his move from Glasgow Rangers, but Tottenham hit the post twice and had a Jermain Defoe effort ruled out for offside.

Chelsea made hard work of beating their visitors after Ricardo Fuller was shown red for a stamp on Branislav Ivanovic.

Drogba made the breakthrough in the 68th minute with his eighth of the season but interim boss Di Matteo admitted it had been a struggle.

"Today was a step in the right direction and sometimes you have to win like this to get three points," Di Matteo told gathered reporters.

League leaders Manchester City and second-placed Manchester United play Sunday.

In other matches, Liverpool's slim hopes of qualification for next season's Champions League suffered another blow as they lost 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.

Nicklas Bendtner scored the winner for the Black Cats on 56 minutes.

In the relegation battle, Queens Park Rangers and Wolverhampton Wanderers, both suffered defeats that left the two clubs in the drop zone.

QPR lost 2-1 at Bolton after a blunder from match officials cost them a first half goal as TV replays showed a Clint Hill effort had clearly crossed the line.

Wolves went down 2-0 at home to fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers after two goals from Canadian youngster David Hoilett.

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