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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan

Last-gasp agony for Blues as United snatch equaliser in 1-1 draw at the Bridge

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 1 Manchester United 1


Goal line technology took centre stage deep into added time as United deservedly equalised in a dour yet always interesting 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Jorginho thought he had given all three points to the home side with a well struck penalty with three minutes remaining of normal time.

But four minutes into the six added, Casemiro reached the ball with his body stretched to the limit. The ball looped off his head, Kepa, once again outstanding, tipped the ball onto the crossbar.

The ball dropped and was snatched back by the Spain stopper.

But referee Stuart Attwell took half a second to consult his special watch - it bleeped to indicate the ball had crossed the line and the United players and fans went balistic at the prospect of saving the game.

In truth United did not deserve to lose, Chelsea did not deserve to concede a goal.

0-0 would have been the more accurate result, but a 1-1 means the west Londoners retain their fourth place status on 21 points with United a point behind them in fifth.

The visitors were more than impressive in the opening exchanges and Chelsea struggled to get hold of the ball let alone construct anything positive.

A long-range Luke Shaw effort on nine minutes signaled United’s intent, but the left back saw his effort flash wide of Kepa’s left post.

Kepa was quick off his line to shut down Jadon Sancho on 28 minutes after another excellent close-control build-up play by United cut the Blues defence in half. Sancho was free on goal but Kepa made his body big, in the classic Peter Schmeichel star shape and clipped the ball away to safety.

With United totally dominating play, Marcus Rashford forced Kepa into another save, head coach Graham Potter realisied things were not going to get better anytime soon.

He decided, on 36 minutes, to replace Marc Cucurella with midfielder Mateo Kovacic in an attempt to wrest some control of the ball in midfield.

Chelsea’s first attempt on goal came straight after. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tried a stretched volley that inched wide of David de Gea’s right post. The slow pace of the ball never seriously threatened a goal.

Antony should have scored on the stroke of half-time but he failed to get enough curl on the ball to get around Kepa and into the goal.

There were no changes at half-time.

The home side started with a sense of urgency that was worryingly missing in the opening 45 minutes.

But it wasn’t long before United boss Erik ten Hag made a change, replacing a disappointing Sancho with Fred on 52 minutes.

A degree of frustration started to creep into Chelsea’s mentality as the game became a stop-start one.

It was overall a better second half for Chelsea, and Trevoh Chalobah saw his header from a corner clip the top of the crossbar.

Aubameyang lasted 30 more seconds and was replaced on 74 minutes with winger Christian Pulisic.

Bruno Fernandes tried a speculative effort on 76 minutes - Kepa, equal to it, parrying the ball away from his near post for a corner.

Potter used his final two substitutions as the clock moved towards 80 minutes - on came Armando Broja and Carney Chukwuemeka - off came Raheem Sterling and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

With seven minutes left Chelsea were awarded a penalty when sub Scott McTominay appeared to hold back Broja in the box.

Fred was yellow-carded presumably for dissent, just as Jorginho stopped up to take the spot kick.

The Brazil-born ItaiIan made no mistake, sending De Gea the wrong way to put Chelsea 1-0 up.

But deep into added time it all went wrong for Chelsea as Casimiro’s stretching header forced Kepa into another seemingly match-saving effort, but the ball bounced off the underside of the crossbar and just dropped over the line.

It was one for goalline technology to take command, and Attwell pointed to his watch to indicate the ball he crossed the line.

A point apiece was a fair result.

Teams Chelsea, Kepa, Jorginho, Silva, Aubameyang, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Sterling, , Mount, Chilwell, Azpilicueta, Cucurella

Subs: Mendy, Kovacic, Pulisic, Broja, Zakaria, Ziyech, Gallagher, Havertz, Chukwuemeka

Man Utd: De Gea, Martinez, Fernandes, Rashford, Eriksen, Casemiro, Varane, Dalit, Antony, Shaw, Sancho

subs: Heaton, Lindelof, Malacia, Fred, Pellistri, Elanga, McTominay, Garnacho, Iqbal

Referee: Stuart Attwell


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