|Drogba rues a missed opportunity as Chelsea squander points [GALLO/GETTY]
English Premier League leaders Chelsea missed a golden opportunity to move four points clear of Manchester United after drawing 1-1 with a relegation-threatened Hull City.
Defender Steven Mouyokolo gave Hull a surprise lead in the 30th minute and, although Didier Drogba equalised 12 minutes later with his 20th goal of the season, Chelsea were unable to convert concerted pressure into more goals.
Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea have 55 points from 24 games with champions United on 53.
Third-placed Arsenal, who play at Chelsea at the weekend, are on 49 points.
While Chelsea's form at Stamford Bridge has been immaculate with just two league points dropped all season, they have been far less impressive away from home and they were not at their best again on Tuesday.
Chelsea began well with Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack both forcing Hull keeper Boaz Myhill into early action but they lost their way as the first half wore on and fell behind to the kind of set piece that has troubled them all season.
Stephen Hunt swung in a corner and the central defender out-jumped a cluster of Chelsea defenders including John Terry to head in a 29th-minute corner.
Terry was jeered throughout by Hull fans following last week's newspaper
allegations that he had an affair with an England teammate's former partner.
Terry's future as England captain could be decided this week by coach Fabio Capello.
The goal stung Chelsea into action and Hull's joy was cut short three minutes before half-time when Drogba curled in a free kick for his first goal since returning from Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast.
Anthony Gardner missed a great chance to put Hull back into the lead while Daniel Sturridge nearly grabbed a vital win for Chelsea with a late effort saved by Myhill.
Jozy Altidore missed with a headed chance for Hull and teammate Amr Zaki troubled the visiting defence, but Drogba missed at the other end as the home team held on for a valuable point in their fight against relegation.
Hull were still in the relegation zone but were level on 21 points with the three teams immediately above them.