Chelsea hit back to beat Sunderland

Chelsea 2 Sunderland 1

Chelsea wrecked Paolo Di Canio’s Premier League managerial debut and maintained their push for a top-four finish.

Trailing at half-time following an indifferent first 45 minutes, the Blues turned the match on its head with two swift – if slightly fortunate – goals after the break.

Cesar Azpilicueta sliced the ball into his own net to put the Black Cats in front but another own goal, scored by the unfortunate Matt Kilgallon after good work from Fernando Torres and Oscar, pulled Chelsea level.

Branislav Ivanovic then backheeled David Luiz’s shot to wrongfoot Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet for the winner.

Interim manager Rafael Benitez again shuffled his pack, making five changes from the Europa League win over Rubin Kazan, resting John Terry, Frank Lampard and Torres.

Sunderland, looking to impress their new manager, were immediately on the front foot with Stephane Sessegnon and Connor Wickham making life difficult for Ivanovic and David Luiz.

Sessegnon fired into the side-netting early on after getting goalside of Ivanovic, while Luiz took a rasping Adam Johnson shot full in the face.

Chelsea felt Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card after scything down Demba Ba with a two-footed challenge.

Sunderland went ahead when Johnson’s corner was flicked on by John O’Shea at the near post and, with keeper Petr Cech ready to claim, Azpilicueta sliced the ball past him from four yards out.

Ba, still struggling after Gardner’s tackle, was withdrawn at the break and his replacement, Torres, added fresh impetus to the Chelsea attack – and made an immediate impact.

The Spaniard cut in from the left flank, dazzled the Sunderland defence with a pacy run and laid the ball off to Oscar, whose shot was blocked by the legs of Mignolet but rolled in after hitting Kilgallon.

Another deflection put Chelsea in front less than 10 minutes later.

A corner was cleared out to Luiz, whose shot was turned into the bottom corner via the heel of Ivanovic.

Chelsea, who moved up to third, were always comfortable once in front.

Oscar fired into the side-netting and Torres headed over from the Brazilian’s late cross.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Bertrand; Mikel, Ramires; Oscar, Mata (Lampard 89), Hazard (Benayoun 85); Ba (Torres 45).
Subs not used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Terry, Marin.



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