Blues kill off Champions League rival Spurs 2-1 at Stamford Bridge with strikes by Giroud and Alonso
Chelsea 2 Spurs 1
Oliver Giroud and Marcos Alonso scored wonder goals that saw off dour Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Stamford Bridge as the Blues opened up a four point gap between the sides in the race to secure Champions League qualification next season.
It was a nervous last couple of minutes for the Blues as substitute Erik Lamela saw his pass clip off Antonio Rudiger’s ankle to zip past Willy Caballero to bring the deficit down to one, in the 88th minute but they saw the game out expertly.
The north Londoners should also have seen Giovanni Lo Celso sent off reduced to 10 men when he stamped on Cesar Azpilicueta.
VAR referee David Coote opted to keep the player on the pitch, not even a yellow card was brandished - just a free-kick to the Blues.
Later it emerged that the VAR team admitted they got the decision wrong.
Chelseas started off in a measured, controlled fashion - Spurs, understandably, had no real intention of venturing too far out of their half.
But the first attempt on goal fell to the visitors when Lucas Moura tried a right-footer from the edge of the Chelsea penalty area. Willy Caballero expertly parried the ball away to his right.
This was quickly follows by Chelsea getting behind Spurs’ line - Marcos Alonso, fed in-running Mason Mount. The midfielder forced Hugo Loris into a smart save at his near post to steer the ball away for a corner.
A zipper of a drive by Ross barkley on 14 minutes just drifted inches wide of Loris’s goal.
Seconds later following a shot by Oliver Giroud which Loris kicked to barkley, whose effort the rebound he off the left upright, Giroud collected the ball again, took one touch and rammed home past the goalkeeper a beauty of a left footer to put the Blues 1-0 up.
Alonso, almost made it number 2 on 24 minutes when his angled right-footer just inched over Loris’s crossbar.
There were no changes by either side at half-time
But within three minutes, the Blues had doubled their lead and it was a thing of team beauty.
Reece James managed to keep the ball in on the right, heading to Mount. The midfielder pushed forward to the edge of the Spurs area on the right. He cut the ball to his left to barkley, who in turn, quickly passed the ball to in-running Alonso, who produced the perfect left-footed dais-cutter that arrowed past Loris.
Quite how Giovanni Lo Celso remained on the pitch seconds later when he stamped on the ankle of Cesar Azpilicueta is anybodies guess but VAR referee David Coote deked it non-violent conduct and referee Michael Oliver simply gave the free-kick, not even a yellow card.
Ex-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho made his first chance on 62 minutes, bringing on Erik Lamela for Tanguay Ndombele.
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard opted to replace goal-scorer Giroud for Tammy Abraham on 71 minutes. He was quickly followed by Willian replacing Barkley.
Dele Alli and Serge Aurier replaced Toby Alderweireld and Steven Bergwijn.
Loris prevented Abraham from sliding home number three on 79 minutes.
Alonso was desperately unlucky to see an edge of the area free-kick rattle off the crossbar with eight minutes left on the clock.
With two minutes left the away side got a goal back when a pass by Lamela clipped off Antonio Rudiger’s left ankle and drifted into the back of Cabellero’s net.
The fans were crying out for the whistle as four minutes left them desperate - but the Blues kept their nerve and saw the remaining minutes out well.
Teams: Chelsea, Caballero,, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso, Barkley, Mount, Giroud
Subs: Kepa, Abraham, Willian, Loftus-Cheek, Zouma, Emerson, Gilmour
Spurs: Loris, D’Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Tanganga, Ndombele, Winks, Lo Celso, Davis, Lucas Moura, Bergwijn
Subs: Lamela, Dier, Alli, Gazzaniga, Aurier, Skipp, Carvalho Fernandes
Referee: Michael Oliver