LONDON (AP) -- Chelsea was held to a 0-0 draw at home by Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday, denting its chances of overtaking its London rival in the battle for a Champions League qualification spot.
Juan Mata curled a free kick against the post in the second half but Chelsea hardly threatened otherwise in a cagey match at a sunny Stamford Bridge, the result keeping the fifth-place hosts five points behind Tottenham with eight matches left.
Tottenham also hit the goal frame through Gareth Bale's powerful header, while Rafael van der Vaart wasted a glorious double-chance in first-half injury time. But the visitors will be happy to come away with a point against a direct rival for a top-four place.
Spurs stay without a win at Stamford Bridge since 1990, before the Premier League was launched.
Harry Redknapp's team also remain without a victory in five league games, a poor run that has allowed north London rival Arsenal to creep ahead in the standings.
However, the way the Tottenham manager -- widely touted as the favorite to replace the departed Fabio Capello as England manager at the end of the season -- set up his team at Stamford Bridge, it was clear from the outset he would be happy with a point.
Committing few players forward to help lone striker Emmanuel Adebayor, their only chance of a first half shorn of entertainment came in injury time, when Van der Vaart was denied by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech and then sprawling defender Ashley Cole -- both attempts coming from close range.
Chelsea, needing the win much more than its opponent after losing 2-1 to Manchester City on Wednesday, enjoyed more possession but also offered little going forward. Indeed, Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel didn't have a save to make before halftime.
The second half proved more entertaining with galloping right back Kyle Walker hitting the sidenetting in the 57th with an angled shot for Tottenham before Mata sent a free kick over the wall but against the base of the post in the 73rd.
Tottenham defender William Gallas should have scored against his former club when he headed a free kick over when totally unmarked eight meters (yards) out and Adebayor missed a better chance in the 79th, rounding Cech but seeing his goalbound shot blocked by Gary Cahill.
With Spurs looking threatening, the hitherto anonymous Bale thundered a header against the bar from the resulting corner.
The Wales winger's swerving free kick deep into injury time forced Cech to scramble a save behind for a corner with what proved to be the last chance of the match.