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Chelsea scramble late draw

2012-02-01 07:16

Swansea - Ten-man Chelsea scrambled an injury-time equaliser to deny Swansea a famous victory as the Londoners battled to a 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday.

Former Chelsea winger Scott Sinclair fired Swansea ahead six minutes before half-time only for Jose Bosingwa's shot to deflect in off Neil Taylor deep into stoppage time to make it 1-1.

It was a dramatic finale for Chelsea, who had earlier seen Ashley Cole sent off after the England full-back collected two yellow times.

Chelsea barely had a kick for half a dozen minutes as Swansea played with familiar confidence.

Still, with John Terry's replacement Branislav Ivanovic looking solid at the heart of the back four, the Swans were seldom dangerous in the final third.

When their chance came, Danny Graham scooped his shot wide from barely four yards.

Unable to cope with Swansea's slick movement and speed of passing, the game was 13 minutes old before Chelsea had their first opportunity.

David Luiz whipped in a cross from the left and with Swansea short on numbers at the far post, Daniel Sturridge dragged his shot wide.

A booking for Taylor, for a rash challenge on Sturridge was thoroughly deserved, with Raul Meireles particularly unhappy with the Wales full-back. Meireles had a spat with Joe Allen too, after the midfield pair came together on the edge of the Swansea box.

Shortly after, Swansea blew their best chance of the half.

Petr Cech failed to clear from the edge of his penalty area but was thankful for two desperate blocks inside his own six yard box from Luiz. The first denied Gylfi Sigurdsson, the second Graham.

As the game increased in pace, Sturridge shot straight at Michel Vorm and Juan Mata first volleyed wide and then put his attempted chip half a dozen yards over.

Oriol Romeu was next up, but once more, Vorm was equal to the midfielder's less than testing strike.

A minute later, Swansea were in front. Chelsea failed to clear a free kick from Sigurdsson and Sinclair turned and duly beat Cech at his far post.

A booking for Ashley Cole for a foul on Angel Rangel and a deserved yellow for Florent Malouda brought the first half to an end while Rangel followed the Chelsea pair into the book three minutes after the restart.

With the words of Andre Villas-Boas clearly ringing in their ears, Chelsea were the dominant force as the second half took shape.

Torres was still a shadow of his former self with the ball at his feet and his confidence gently flowed away.

Far from the force they were prior to half time, Swansea still had their moments and continued to harass ther Chelsea playmakers in midfield.

Malouda and Meireles had precious little time to dwell on possession as did Mata and Torres in the final third.

There was simply no cutting edge, an issue highlighted when Cole's searching cross from the left slipped harmlessly across the face of the Swansea goal.

A wonderful drive from substitute Michael Essien brushed the woodwork and as Chelsea once again turned up the heat, Swansea found themselves starved of possession.

Sturridge prodded Bosingwa's cross inches wide, 15 minutes from time and as hard as they tried, Chelsea could not break down Swansea's resolute defence until Bosingwa popped up a minute into stoppage time to save Chelsea's blushes for a strike that went down as a Taylor own goal.

AFP