Chelsea captain John Terry touched the club badge as he saluted fans after the 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

Story highlights

John Terry's late goal-line clearance earns Chelsea a 1-1 draw at Tottenham

Terry captained London side a day after being charged by police for racist abuse

Defeat would have left Chelsea five points behind their third-placed EPL rivals

Barcelona and Valencia cruise into the last 16 of Spain's Copa del Rey

CNN  — 

John Terry shrugged off his off-field problems to save Chelsea from a damaging defeat by English Premier League rivals Tottenham on Thursday.

The England captain was named to lead his club a day after being charged by police for alleged racial abuse, and made a crucial goal-line clearance in time added on to secure a 1-1 draw.

Defeat would have left Chelsea five points behind their third-placed London rivals, but the result kept the battle for European Champions League places finely poised as the season nears the halfway stage.

The build-up to the match was dominated by confirmation of Terry’s February 1 court case for remarks he allegedly made to Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand.

“Since the situation he has improved,” said Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, who called the result a “moral win.”

“He has grown in terms of performance. He’s a reference point for this team. It shows his character and strength and personality. His effort for the collective is extraordinary.”

Racism rows damage brand of the ‘beautiful game’

Aware of a potential powder-keg atmosphere, home team Tottenham warned fans that ground stewards would be wearing head cams to record any inappropriate behavior.

Spurs made the perfect start when Emmanuel Adebayor scored his ninth league goal this season in the eighth minute, forcing home Gareth Bale’s low cross after teammate Sandro stole the ball from Daniel Sturridge near halfway.

Sturridge wasted a golden chance to level soon after, but the 22-year-old striker made amends in the 23rd minute when he buried Ashley Cole’s cross – a goal that left Spurs furious as the England leftback appeared to control the ball with his hand.

Sturridge’s veteran forward partner Didier Drogba nearly made it 2-1 on the half hour but hit the post after chesting down a cross and firing in a fierce left-foot shot.

Footballers are TV stars, and should act like it

On-loan Manchester City striker Adebayor had the ball in the net again just before the hour, but it was ruled out for offside.

Villas-Boas brought on $80 million striker Fernando Torres with 13 minutes to play, but it was former Chelsea defender William Gallas – who scored a winner against Tottenham in 2006 – who next went closest to scoring as he volleyed a good chance wide.

Midfielder Ramires wasted a free header at the other end, and it looked like Chelsea would pay for the Brazilian’s miss when Bale put Adebayor clear on goal – but Terry came to the rescue to clear the Togo international’s low shot after goalkeeper Petr Cech was beaten.

The draw lifted Chelsea onto 33 points, 11 behind leaders Manchester City and one above fifth-placed Arsenal.

Spurs go into the December 26 Boxing Day fixtures in the club’s best position this century, but still nine points behind City.

In Spain, Barcelona and Valencia cruised into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey, joining holders Real Madrid in the next round.

Club World Cup champions Barca thrashed fourth division L’Hospitalet 9-0, as a trio of 20-year-olds – midfielder Thiago Alcantara and strikers Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello – all scored twice.

First-team regulars Pedro Rodriguez, Andre Iniesta and Xavi also netted in a win that gave the Catalan side a 10-0 aggregate scoreline.

Valencia surprisingly drew the first leg at lower league Cadiz 0-0, but scored four unanswered goals on Thursday to go through as defender Victor Ruiz, strikers Jonas and Roberto Soldado were on target before midfielder Ever Banega wrapped it up.