Last-ditch Mata goal gives Chelsea victory

Chelsea 2 Wigan 1

Juan Mata’s fortuitous injury-time winner gave Chelsea a dramatic victory, boosting their chances of a top-four finish.

Branislav Ivanovic put them ahead on 62 minutes when he volleyed home from close range following Raul Meireles’ ball into the box – although the Serbian appeared to be well offside.

Ivanovic then thwarted Wigan at the other end by clearing a goal-bound effort from former Chelsea striker Franco di Santo.

When substitute Mohamed Diame equalised with a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area with eight minutes remaining, the relegation-threatened Latics look set to pick up a deserved point.

But after Fernando Torres’ spectacular volley from Didier Drogba’s cross smashed off the post, the ball hit Mata and trickled in.

The result moved Chelsea to within two points of Arsenal – who are fourth and play Manchester City on Sunday – and three points away from third-placed Tottenham, who were held to a draw by Sunderland.

It was harsh on Wigan, who kept them at bay until just past the hour mark – largely because of the brilliance of Ali Al Habsi.

The keeper produced fine first-half saves to deny Drogba and Gary Cahill.

After Ivanovic’s controversial opener, Mata missed a great chance to double the lead when he headed over from Drogba’s cross.

Chelsea looked like they would be punished when Diame levelled, but it was the visitors who were left to rue a late miss.

Moments after Wigan defender Gary Caldwell came close to putting his team ahead, Mata’s 12th goal of the season gave Roberto Di Matteo’s men a potentially priceless win.

A huge slice of luck was involved, although Torres was desperately unlucky not to see his glorious strike hit the net instead of the woodwork.

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