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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Last-gasp penalty sees Blues secure a point in 4-4 thriller against the champions


Stamford Bridge Picture: Paul Lagan
Stamford Bridge Picture: Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge


Chelsea 4v Manchester City 4

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Ex-Manchester City youngster Cole Palmer stuck the knife into his former employers who deemed him surplus to requirements by scoring a late, late goal – a penalty to secure Chelsea a point in the game of the season at Stamford Bridge as both sides had the chance to win the match but it ended up an almost unbelievable 4-4 draw.

City took the lead Chelsea equalised, then went ahead. City responded to level the game, then went ahead. Chelsea pulled it back to 3-3 before a goal four minutes from time seemed to send the three points up the M6 to Manchester. But then deep in to added time – substitute Armando Broja was fouled and Palmer kept his cool as Chelsea kept a share of the spoils.

After The Blues exhilarating 4-1 win at Spurs on Monday, no one thought that such a pulsating match could be replicated, but t was in dramatic fashion.

There were mistakes, but there was so much quality of world-class level on display that it will go down as one of the classic games in Premier league history.

Neither side deserved to lose, but deserved to win.

Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino was furious at referee Anthony Taylor at the end as he blew his whistle while the Blues were attacking, that he raced on to the pitch towards him. He got a yellow card for his frustrateacd troubles.

It was a pulsating opening few minutes, with both sides trying to get a foothold in the game, trying to dominate the ball, and trying to get as close to the opposition goal as possible.

As a result, each side negated each other and open play a-was a see-saw event.

The first hit n goal fell on 17 minutes to Josko Gvardiol, but his header, went straight to Robert Sanchez.

This was soon followed by a edge-of-penalty area half-volley by Conor Gallagher, again this time Ederson saw the ball go straight into his gloves.

Referee Anthony Taylor brandished a yellow card and awarded a penalty to City on 21 minutes.

He was adjudged to have pulled at Erling Haaland's shirt.

VAR intervened and looked at a possible foul by Reece James before agreeing with Taylor.

All this happened with Gallagher was on the floor injured and thus Chelsea down to 10 men.

Up stepped the star striker for City who sent Sanchez the wrong was to put the visitors ahead on 24 minutes.

A wonderful Reece James free-kick was met with an equally wonderful tip over the crossbar save by Ederson on 28 minutes.

From the resultant kick, Tiago Silva was first to get to the ball and produced a first quality, in-running glancing header that zipped across Ederson's path and nestled in to the back of the side netting to level the scores.

Haaland should have restored City's lead when he latched on to a byline cross by Phil Foden, but this time, the ball went into the outside part of the side-netting. Foden missed by inches with a curling left-footer from the edge of he area on 34 minutes.

Ex-City star Raheem Sterling turned the home side's fortunes around on 37 minutes when a classic breakaway tore City apart.

Sterling had the simple task of staying onside and he received the perfect pass from James on the right and tucked home confidently.

With breakaways seemingly the deciding factor in the game, City produced a clean one on 42 minutes and Haaland was free just inside the Chelsea area. His shot was excellent but Sanchez, dug deep and dived well to his left to parry the ball away to safety.

But occasionally old school set piece will do and as soon as six added minutes went up on the clock a regulation corner was passed out to the edge of the area and was then pinged into the six-yard box where an unmarked Manuel Akanji powerfully head home the equaliser.

There was no changes by either side at half-time.

Within 90 seconds of he restart City retook the lead and it was another quick counter-attack that started from a throw-in deep in Chelsea's half. Haaland was on the spot to take advantage of a byline cross that tipped off Sanchez and hit Haaland as he slide in to the goal.

VAR had a look to check if the elbow of Haaland touched the ball before it went over the line – it looked like it, but what is an unnatural position for an elbow in those circumstances?

Suffice to say the goal was rightly given.

Sanchez kept it to three on 52 minutes when Julian Alvarez smart, goal-bound shot was tipped away from the goal.

The first change came from City and Jack Grealish was brought on for live-wire Jeremy Doku on 59 minutes.

A Cole Palmer mazy run almost nicked an equaliser but Ederson blocked his shot on 61 minutes.

The game however started to drift away from Chelsea as City retained possession better and opened up spaces within Chelsea's rear guard.

Head coach opted to try and change this by bringing on Mykhailo Mudryk and Malo Gusto.

Gusto replaced James who was never going to finish the game anyhow, as it was part of his recovery programme to build minutes into his game until he is ready for a full 90 minutes plus.. Enzo was the other to come off on 64 minutes.

The response was instant and like Sterling before him Nicolas Jackson slotted home into an empty net after Ederson blocked a Gallagher shot. The ball fell gleefully to Jackson, who took one touch before tucking home the equaliser on 68 minutes.

Gusto had a glorious chance to hit number four but panicked when free in thee six-yard box and slashed his effort over the City crossbar.

Ex-Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic entered the fray for City on 79 minutes – off went Alvarez.

But the visitors are not champions for nothing and kept pushing forward and got a huge slice of luck when Rodri, four minutes from time, saw his speculative shot take a wicked deflection off the right boot of Silva and zipped into the back of the net to give City a 4-3 lead.

Chelsea were just about to bring on Lesley Ugochukwu to shore up the centre of the park but changed their mind to bring on striker Armando Broja for Caicedo.

But two minutes I to the eight added, Taylor judged that Broja was brought down by Ruben Dias's flying body.

Up stepped ex-City player Palmer who smashed the ball home to level the game 4-4.

This time they did bring on Ugochukwu for Jackson.

Sterling was yellow-carded for a silly foul just outside his penalty area and the eight minutes click on the clock.

The kick went wide which was the only thing that was off the mark in the whole enocunter.

Teams:

Chelsea, Sanchez; James, Disasi, Thiago Silva, Cucurella; Fernandez, Caicedo, Gallagher, Sterling, Jackson, Palmer

Subs: Petrovic; Gusto, Maatsen, Badiashile; Ugochukwu; Madueke, Matos, Mudryk; Broja.

Man City: Ederson, Walker (C), Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Foden, Doku, Alvarez, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Phillips, Kovacic, Grealish, Nunes, Bobb, Lewis

Referee: Anthony Taylor


READ YANN TEAR's TAKE IN THE GAME HERE

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