- Saints led through Long’s goal
- Ivanovic’s late header wins it for Blues
- Chelsea 11 games unbeaten in PL
Chelsea fought back to win 2-1 against Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday, with a late header from Branislav Ivanovic handing them all three points.
[ MORE: Can Chelsea finish in top four? ]
Saints led through Shane Long‘s first half goal, but Chelsea impressed in the second half and finally breached Southampton’s stern defense as Cesc Fabregas’ cross missed everyone and went in.
With the victory Guus Hiddink’s side climb up to 11th the Premier League table and have 36 points, while Saints slip to seventh on 40 points as they lost for the first time in seven outings.
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Diego Costa‘s flick almost went in but Steven Davis cleared off the line and in an entertaining clash the chances kept coming. Charlie Austin sent in a great cross towards the back post which Gary Cahill cleared away with Long lurking and then Chelsea went up the other end but Oscar’s shot was straight at Forster.
[ VIDEO: Ivanovic nets late winner ]
Costa then turned sharply but fired over and then Austin capitalized on a poor giveaway from Fabregas but the former QPR man bent his effort just wide of the post.
Just three minutes before the break Saints took the lead as a long ball forward saw Baba Rahman make a bad mistake. He sent his headed clearance straight to Long and the Republic or Ireland international raced through on goal and dinked the ball over Thibaut Courtois and into the far corner.
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Ryan Bertrand almost deflected a Chelsea ball from Costa into his own net but the ball squirmed wide and it remained 1-0 to Southampton at half time.
Chelsea started brightly in the second half with Eden Hazard firing one over and then a scramble in the box from a corner saw the ball loop toward John Obi Mikel and he failed to generate any power on the header which floated harmlessly wide.
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Costa then missed a great opportunity to equalize as Hazard cross from the right but the off balance Spaniard volleyed way wide. And his temperature began to rise as he was booked for clipping Virgil Van Dijk and plenty of Southampton defenders were letting Costa know he was in a game.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Goalscorer Long limped off 20 minutes from time as he looked to have suffered a hamstring injury, and then the home side had a penalty shout. Davis’ ball over the top found Austin and as he tried to flick it by Cahill it appeared to strike arm of the Chelsea defender but no PK was awarded.
With 15 minutes to go Chelsea equalized as Costa kept the ball alive and found Fabregas who curled in an innocuous looking cross which missed everyone and Forster made a hash of it as the ball found the bottom corner. 1-1. Costa was then denied by a great block from Jose Fonte as Chelsea pushed for the winner and Willian sent a shot inches wide of the far post after making room for himself.
However, Saints couldn’t hold on for a point as Willian’s corner was meet by captain Ivanovic who sent the away fans wild and handed Chelsea yet another three points as their surge up the standing continues.