English Premiership

Subs send Chelsea into third

2013-10-06 16:30
Willian and Ramires (AFP)

London - Eden Hazard and Willian rose from the bench to score late goals that earned Chelsea a 3-1 win away to Norwich City in the English Premiership on Sunday.

The substitutes netted in the 85th and 86th minutes to end Norwich's legitimate hopes of winning the game themselves after Anthony Pilkington had cancelled out Oscar's early opener for the visitors.

With Fernando Torres both suspended and injured, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho chose Demba Ba over Samuel Eto'o to replace the Spaniard as his side's lone striker.

And within seconds Ba almost won a penalty when he got in behind fit-again Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong and went down in the box under Michael Turner's challenge.

Ba then set up Oscar in the fourth minute for the opening goal, a low, right-footed shot from the edge of the area beyond the reach of Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Norwich were forced to chase shadows for a spell and Juan Mata set up Ba for a shot that Ruddy did well to deflect behind, with the goalkeeper then getting down quickly to deny David Luiz from the ensuing corner.

Ba almost made it 2-0 when Ruddy dropped a catch at his feet on the edge of the area, but Bassong had anticipated and was back to block the shot on the turn that followed.

Norwich came close to an equaliser, however, when Luiz inadvertently turned Ricky van Wolfswinkel's cross towards his own goal, forcing Petr Cech into his first save.

But Ruddy again dropped a high ball at Ba's feet and was only just able to prevent the striker from finding the net from inside the six-yard box.

Chelsea began to run out of steam and after Luiz had found the roof of Ruddy's net with a speculative 60-yard punt, the half ended with Cech saving a Bassong volley.

The second period began with Ba sending a flick across goal and narrowly wide, but in reply, Norwich saw a penalty appeal turned down when Pilkington went down in the Chelsea box under Ramires's challenge.

Pilkington then fired in two shots that were both off target but gave evidence that Norwich were growing into the game.

Further proof arrived when John Terry was only just able to stop Van Wolfswinkel from bursting through to equalise.

Chelsea were rattled and, after Terry had blocked another Pilkington effort, there was a booking for Oscar for a foul on Robert Snodgrass

An equaliser was coming and Pilkington scored it in the 68th minute, converting from close range after Van Wolfswinkel beat Terry at the back post to nod down Martin Olsson's cross from the left.

Cech got a hand to the ball but was unable to prevent it crossing the line.

Eto'o came on for Ba in the 73rd minute and England manager Roy Hodgson would not have enjoyed the sight of Ashley Cole coming off holding his stomach two minutes later, with Hazard replacing the England left-back.

The Belgian almost put Chelsea back in front within seconds, but his effort on the turn went across goal and wide.

Chelsea sent Willian on for Mata for a first taste of Premier League football in the 81st minute, but it was Nathan Redmond, a Norwich substitute, who almost put his side ahead with a fierce drive that Cech did well to beat away.

Chelsea had the final say, however, with two goals in as many minutes.

The first saw Willian send Oscar into space and when Alexander Tettey could only prod the Brazilian's pass into Hazard's path, the Belgian dispatched a low drive that crept under Ruddy and just crossed the line.

Willian netted the clinching third with an emphatic finish from the right of the box that gave Ruddy no chance.


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