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Sunday, Nov 28th

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You are here: Football English Football Sunderland stun Chelsea at the Bridge to keep Premier League hopes alive; Liverpool inch closer to title

Sunderland stun Chelsea at the Bridge to keep Premier League hopes alive; Liverpool inch closer to title

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It is a result that will have repercussions up and down the Premier League and is impossible to view in isolation, but when Mike Dean blew the final whistle, and all the angry players were led down the tunnel, the Final Scoreline read: Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland. Chelsea's defeat means that their Premier League title ambitions are no longer in their own hands and they now need relegation threatened Norwich City to do Liverpool tomorrow, what Sunderland did to them today, win.

For Sunderland, 4 points from games against Man City and Chelsea means they are now back in with a shout of survival. Still bottom of the league, but now just 3 points shy of 17th place Norwich, who have a disastrous run in. How they must be wishing they could take back Samir Nasri's equalizer at the Etihad which somehow squeezed through a crestfallen Vito Mannone, but the Italian put in a professional display today and was very much integral to the Black Cats' win.

 

However, the biggest celebration tonight would no doubt be taking place in Liverpool when perhaps poignantly their on-loan striker Fabio Borini stepped up to stroke home the spot kick in the 82nd minute which sealed Sunderland's win. Borini might have scored just 4 times in the Premier League this season, but his latest goal is perhaps just as important as the 50 odd that Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have scored between them this season.

The match itself was a feisty affair. Chelsea took the lead in the 12th minute courtesy a Samuel Eto'o tap in from a corner. The Cameroon striker was given too much time and space in the box and he took his chance with glee. Sunderland equalized 6 minutes later through England's next big hope Connor Wickham, who reacted quicker than John Terry to a lose ball after Aussie keeper Mark Schwarzer (subbing in goal for the ill Petr Cech) kept out a well worked variation on a corner routine.

Chelsea dominated the opening period had plenty of appeals for penalties but got no change from the referee. Ramires escaped with a blatant elbow on Seb Larsson, but the Blues' fans will argue that Larsson shouldn't have been on the pitch anyway.

Chelsea continued to dominate the second half and Demba Ba, who came on for Oscar, had chances to continue his glorious scoring run but somehow contrived to miss.

Late in the game, Cesar Azpilicueta slipped at the back allowing a nervy Jozy Altidore threw. The Spaniard's recovery attempt left the big American on the floor and the referee awarded what in Chelsea's eyes was a poor penalty decision. Borini stepped up under immense pressure to score from the spot, while the Chelsea bench exploded, hurling a tirade of abuse in the direction of the referee.

Sunderland held on through 6 minutes of time added on for their win, ending Jose Mourinho's phenomenal home run in the Premier League at 77 matches - 60 unbeaten in his first stint and 17 in his second.

Mourinho, not one to keep his emotions in check lashed out at the officials post game, saying, "I want to congratulate again. This time Mike Dean. His performance was unbelievable and when referees have unbelievable performances it's fair to congratulate them. He came here with one objective, the objective to make a fantastic performance and he did that. Congratulations to Mike Riley, because he is the referees' boss, and what they're doing all season is fantastic, especially in the last few months, especially for the teams involved in the title race, and I also congratulate Mike Riley."

Mourinho did of course also congratulate his own players and Sunderland, our interpretation is that there was no sarcasm in either of those congratulatory messages. The same of course cannot be said about the referee, and it remains to be seen what action is taken against Mourinho (if any) and Ramires (again.. if any) in the days to come.

While Chelsea fans will no doubt feel hard done by given the result, the fact that must not be ignored is that Chelsea had 31 shots on goal and to score just once speaks volumes about their own inadequacies in front of goal, something that must not be overlooked despite Mourinho's attempts to deflect attention in the direction of Dean and Riley.

As things stand, Chelsea continue to trail Liverpool by 2 points, now having played a game more, but with a visit to the Reds scheduled for next week, and Liverpool still to play an in-form Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, Chelsea aren't quite out of the title race by a long shot.

Teams:

Chelsea: Schwarzer, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Matic, Salah (Schürrle 66'), Oscar (Ba 59'), Willian, Eto'o (Torres 74').

Subs: Luiz, Lampard, Torres, Mikel, Schurrle, Ba, Hilario.

Sunderland: Mannone, Vergini, O'Shea, Brown, Alonso, Cattermole, Johnson (Giaccherini 66'), Larsson (Celustka 93'), Colback, Borini, Wickham (Altidore 66').

Subs: Celustka, Altidore, Ba, Giaccherini, Scocco, Ustari, Mavrias.

Final Score: Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland (Eto'o 12′, Wickham 18′ Borini 82′ (p))