Chelsea suffer shock defeat at Palace

Crystal Palace 1 Chelsea 0

Chelsea’s Premier League title hopes were dealt a blow with John Terry’s own goal gifting Crystal Palace victory at Selhurst Park.

Eden Hazard was twice brilliantly denied by Palace keeper Julian Speroni, Fernando Torres wasted a late chance and Terry went close to making amends having nodded the ball into his own net on 52 minutes.

Chelsea remain top of the table, but Manchester City have the chance to displace them when they meet fellow title hopefuls Arsenal later.

The first chance of the game fell to Torres from a long throw-in, but the Spain international’s snatched close-range volley was comfortably blocked by Scott Dann.

Chelsea were next denied by the sliding intervention of Joel Ward, beating the outstretched figure of Andre Schurrle at the back post after Cesar Azpilicueta whipped in an inviting low ball.

Palace were driven forward by Jason Puncheon, who carved out the best opening of the first half. He picked out the unmarked Yannick Bolasie who could only fire into the side netting after failing to bring the ball down with his first touch with Petr Cech scrambling to cover his back post.

It sparked a period of sustained pressure that included two penalty shouts that were turned down by referee Lee Mason after Gary Cahill first clattered into Cameron Jerome before then tangling with Bolasie.

Schurrle’s deflected shot before the break summed up the quality of chances Jose Mourinho’s men had managed to create.

Palace’s pressure was rewarded after the restart, with Terry beating Joe Ledley to a Ward cross only to flick the ball in past a helpless Cech at the near post.

Hazard came close to an immediate response, forcing Speroni into a fine one-handed save after skipping the ball through heavy traffic outside the box.

Puncheon almost added a second for the hosts, running onto a Jerome through ball before pulling his shot wide with Cech well beaten.

Terry nearly redeemed himself on 63 minutes, heading Oscar’s free-kick just over the bar and Argentine Speroni then made the second of his inspired saves from Hazard, blocking his angled shot after Oscar’s scuffed effort found the Belgian free inside the box.

Palace refused to sit back and protect their lead, and Jerome rifled against the foot of the post and Cech parried a Puncheon effort over the bar.

Torres had a golden late opening to rescue a point, picking up a weak back-pass from Stuart O’Keefe, only to loft the ball wastefully over.

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Luiz (Oscar 45), Matic, Lampard (Salah 57); Schurrle (Ba 70),Torres, Hazard.
Subs not used: Hilario, Mikel, Willian, Kalas.

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