LONDON: Chelsea lost two goalkeepers to head injuries in a 1-0 win over Reading in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Petr Cech was carried off in the first minute after he collided with Reading's Stephen Hunt. Cech's replacement Carlo Cudicini was taken off unconscious shortly before the end after a collision with Ibrahima Sonko.

"The Cech one, the challenge is a disgrace. He is lucky to still be alive. As for Carlo, it's a bad challenge, but there was no intent from the player," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.

Mourinho said Cudicini was knocked out because of the way he hit the ground, but accused Hunt of laughing after Cech was injured. "It was unbelievable and players should respect each other more than that," he said.

Chelsea scored when a free kick by Frank Lampard was deflected for a goal by Reading defender Ivar Ingimarsson in the 45th minute.


Meanwhile, Petr Cech had surgery for a depressed skull fracture. Chelsea said on Sunday it was too early to assess the Czech's condition.

``Chelsea Football Club can confirm that Petr Cech was transferred to the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford on Saturday night to the specialist neuro-surgical unit,'' the team said in a statement. ``He underwent surgery for a depressed fracture of the skull.

``The operation was successful but it is too early to give an accurate assessment of his condition.''

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said after the match that Cech was lucky to survive.

Cech's replacement, Carlo Cudicini, also was taken to the hospital after he was injured while jumping to catch the ball in the 89th minute. He was released Saturday night.

Chelsea defender John Terry finished the match as the goalkeeper.

``Naturally, everybody at Chelsea wishes Petr, and Carlo Cudicini who was discharged last night after being knocked unconscious a speedy recovery from their injuries,'' Chelsea said.

Arsenal goes fourth

Arsenal moved up to fourth after a 3-0 win over Watford. Arsenal, which started 17-year-old Theo Walcott for the first time, led on an own-goal from Jordan Stewart before Thierry Henry and Emmanuel Adebayor scored.

Nwankwo Kanu scored his sixth goal of the season and substitute Andy Cole added a second in Portsmouth's 2-0 win over West Ham.

Juan Pablo Angel missed a penalty and scored an own goal but Aston Villa's unbeaten start to the season continued against Tottenham. Calum Davenport was sent off for his challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor that led to the 73rd-minute penalty and Angel then put the ball into his own net three minutes later. Gareth Barry earned Villa a point in the 81st minute.

Craig Bellamy scored in the 64th for Liverpool against his former club Blackburn to salvage a 1-1 draw at Anfield. Blackburn scored through Benni McCarthy to dent Liverpool's perfect home record.

The results:

English Premier League: Arsenal 3 bt Watford 0; Aston Villa 1 drew with Tottenham 1; Liverpool 1 drew with Blackburn 1; Manchester City 0 drew with Sheffield United 0; Middlesbrough 2 bt Everton 1; Portsmouth 2 bt West Ham 0; Reading 0 lost to Chelsea 1.

Spanish La Liga: Getafe 1 bt Real Madrid 0; Atletico Madrid 2 bt Recreativo Huelva 1.

Italian Serie A: Siena 3 bt Messina 1; Sampdoria 1 drew with AC Milan 1. Agencies

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