Chelsea seal controversial win
London - Juan Mata's last-gasp winner moved
Chelsea to within two points of the top four after Branislav Ivanovic's
controversial opener set them on course for a 2-1 win over Wigan on
Mata found himself in the right place at the right time
to turn home from close range after Fernando Torres had fired a volley
against the post in the third minute of stoppage-time at Stamford
But it was Chelsea's first goal that sparked a furious
reaction from Wigan, who were convinced the Serb was well offside when
his turned home a Raul Meireles cross.
Referee Mike Jones ignored
the protests of the visitors and awarded the goal after consulting with
his assistant, although replays supported Wigan's claims that they had
been hard done by.
Wigan's misery didn't end there and they left
empty-handed after believing they had secured a deserved point after
Mohamed Diame's 82nd minute effort had cancelled out Ivanovic's 62nd
Chelsea are now up to fifth, above Newcastle on
goal difference, and within two points of fourth placed Arsenal, who
host Manchester City on Sunday.
The midweek Champions League
quarter-final win over Benfica had kept the Blues' recent impressive run
going and set up the tantalising prospect of a semi-final meeting with
But interim manager Roberto Di Matteo had attempted to
re-focus his players' minds in the league ahead of this game by
insisting a fourth place finish was still Chelsea's main target.
a trip to local rivals Fulham looming on Monday, Di Matteo took the
opportunity to rotate his squad, making seven changes from the side that
started against Benfica.
Captain John Terry was an enforced
absentee after revealing he has been playing recently with two cracked
ribs while Frank Lampard and Ashely Cole were also injured.
But the wholesale changes did little to freshen up a side that looked as though it was still affected by the midweek efforts.
had already served notice they have no intention of slipping out of the
Premier League without a fight and came into this clash on the back of
successive wins over Liverpool and Stoke.
It took Chelsea 22
minutes before they managed to threaten Ali Al Habsi's goal with Gary
Cahill forcing a good save from the Wigan keeper with a long-range
But Cahill was involved in a scare inside his own area
when Wigan claimed Shaun Maloney's cross had been blocked by the centre
back's arm in the 28th minute.
Three minutes later, Chelsea lodged their own claim for a spot-kick when Didier Drogba was held by Gary Caldwell.
should have scored in the 35th minute when his header was cleared off
the line by Maynor Figueroa after Al Habsi had blocked Mata's close
Then on the stroke of half time he connected with a far post header that drew another fine save from Al Habsi.
Matteo's side took the lead thanks to a major slice of luck in the 62nd
minute when referee Mike Jones decided Ivanovic was onside when he
side-footed home from Meireles's cross.
Wigan were convinced the Serb was offside and television replays appeared to support their case.
the goal stood and 60 seconds later Ivanovic made another telling
contribution, this time at the other end when he cleared Franco Di
Santo's effort off the line.
Wigan found a way back into the game
through substitute Diame who created space for himself on the edge of
the area before lashing home a left foot drive, but Mata had the last
word with his close-range winner following Torres's volley.