Chelsea left stunned by Saints comeback

Chelsea 2 Southampton 2

Chelsea’s stuttering home form continued as Southampton stunned them by storming back from 2-0 down.

First-half goals from Demba Ba and Eden Hazard – who netted on the stroke off the interval – put the Blues in the driving seat.

But substitute Rickie Lambert pulled a goal back and Jason Puncheon levelled with 11 minutes remaining.

Following back-to-back defeats at Stamford Bridge, it was another surprise slip-up by third-placed Chelsea, who would have moved four points clear of rivals Tottenham with a victory.

And there was more anger from the stands directed towards interim manager Rafael Benitez, who further riled disgruntled fans by taking off Frank Lampard.

Crowd favourite Lampard played a key role in Ba’s 25th-minute opener.

Lampard was taken off in the 80th minute.
Lampard was taken off in the 80th minute.

He did well on the right before laying the ball off to Cesar Azpilicueta and when Southampton were unable to clear the full-back’s cross, Ba hooked home from 10 yards – perhaps with the help of a slight deflection off Maya Yoshida.

Earlier, a ricochet off Yoshida almost resulted in an own goal by the Saints defender and Oscar sent a tame effort wide as Chelsea dominated.

After Ba’s goal – the striker’s third since his recent move from Newcastle – Lampard missed a great chance to double the lead when he scuffed a shot wide after being found unmarked by Juan Mata.

And Southampton keeper Artur Boruc produced a reaction save to deny Hazard in first-half injury time.

But Boruc was then unable keep out a thumping effort from Hazard, who belted in the rebound from just inside the penalty area after Ramires’ shot had struck the post.

The visitors, to their credit, continued to battle after the break and were hauled back into game by Lambert’s firm header from Nathaniel Clyne’s 57th-minute cross.

Galvanised, they then enjoyed a spell of pressure and equalised after great work by highly-rated left-back Luke Shaw – a player Chelsea showed interest in before he recently signed a new deal at St Mary’s.

Following Shaw’s surging run down the left and cross into the box, the ball dropped to Puncheon who slammed an unstoppable shot beyond keeper Petr Cech and into the corner of the net.

Benitez responded by replacing Lampard with Fernando Torres, who fired into the side-netting late on.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Ramires, Lampard (Torres 80), Oscar, Mata, Hazard, Ba.
Subs not used: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Ferreira, Marin, Terry, Bertrand.



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