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Sports

Chelsea puts early seal on Premier League

Chelsea has won the Premier League title, beating Crystal Palace 1-0 at Stamford Bridge to give the Blues an untouchable lead atop the table with three games to play. The title is Chelsea's fifth in the top flight.

It was a raucous atmosphere at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as Chelsea wrapped up the English Premier League thanks to a single goal by Eden Hazard that proved enough.

Just as half-time approached, Hazard was brought down and Chelsea awarded a penalty. His poorly struck shot was saved by Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni, only for the Belgian star to head in the rebound.

"I didn't know what to do at first, and actually I'm not very good with my head," said Hazard after the game. "But I was able to get it in, so it worked out in the end."

'Unbelievable feeling'

Chelsea's fifth single-goal victory margin in their last seven league games sparked scenes of joy around the ground and on the pitch, with captain John Terry leading the celebrations alongside veteran striker Didier Drogba.

Jose Mourinho

'Finally we can breathe,' said Mourinho after the victory on Sunday

"Finally we can breathe, relax and enjoy. We can look back and see how much we deserve to be champions," said head coach Jose Mourinho, who won back-to-back titles in 2004-05 and 05-06.

With blue ticker-tape raining down in the sunshine, Chelsea's players completed a lap of honor with ironic chants of "boring, boring Chelsea" ringing out.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Terry, who sunk to his knees on hearing the final whistle, told the Sky Sports broadcaster. "We've worked so hard, so to get over the line is great," he said.

"This is what I live for. It's been five years since we've won it. The first one was special and you go four or five years without it and that hurts. So I'll really enjoy it today."

glb/apc (AP, Reuters, AFP)