Ivanovic’s late winner continues Chelsea’s revivial

Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic celebrates scoring his sides second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at the St Mary's Stadium, Southampton.
Southampton 1 Chelsea 2

Stand-in captain Branislav Ivanovic snatched victory for Chelsea with an 88th-minute winner at St. Mary’s.

Southampton had taken the lead just before the break when Shane Long pounced on Baba Rahman’s error before beating a hesitant Thibaut Courtois.

But 15 minutes from time, Cesc Fabregas ended Southampton’s club-record run of 637 minutes without conceding as his cross deceived keeper Fraser Forster and nestled in the far corner.

One point was then turned into three when Ivanovic thumped in a header from a corner which Forster failed to keep out.

Chelsea suffered a blow in the opening minutes when Pedro limped off and were fortunate to see Shane Long nod over from close range.

But Long made no mistake late in the half when he latched on to a misplaced Baba header and drew Courtois before clipping the ball over him.

Chelsea were much the better side after the interval but Diego Costa – who discarded his protective facemask in the first period – missed a clear chance to equalise when he volleyed over from Eden Hazard’s inviting cross.

Southampton were on the back foot but had claims for a penalty, when Gary Cahill challenged former QPR striker Charlie Austin, waved away.

Forster though had looked untroubled until the 75th minute when he was caught out by a Fabregas centre – and that gave Chelsea even further impetus against a nervy-looking Saints defence.

Costa had a shot blocked and Willian drove inches wide, before the Brazilian’s corner was headed home by Ivanovic.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Baba (Kenedy 46); Mikel, Fabregas; Pedro (Oscar 7), Willian, Hazard (Matic 90); Costa.
Subs not used: Begovic, Loftus-Cheek, Traore, Remy.