Sunday, December 28, 2014 5:36 pm
A window to make the title chase closer was opened by Southampton on Sunday after the Saints played out a 1-1 draw with Premier League leaders Chelsea.
The Blues kicked off at St. Mary’s minutes before second placed Manchester City did at Burnley, holding a three-point lead on the champions going into the encounter.
But Sadio Mane picked up from where he left off on Friday by giving Southampton the lead after 17 minutes, beating the Chelsea offside trap to latch on to Dusan Tadic’s dinked pass and score.
The encounter became scrappy with Chelsea edging play but failing to penetrate an organised Southampton side that could have gone to within a point of third placed Manchester United with a win.
However, Chelsea got back on level terms on the stroke of half-time through Hazard who cut inside after receiving a Fabregas pass before skillfully evaded two Saints defenders and equalising.
The second half saw Chelsea continue to dominate play but again fail to penetrate a sturdy Southampton side coupled with some bits of fortune for the home side.
Fabregas got booked for simulation in the Southampton area, Willian had two efforts blocked in quick succession, Hazard had a volley flash just wide of goal on the hour mark as Chelsea searched desperately for the winner.
That almost came with 13 minutes from time when a James Ward-Prowse back pass put Chelsea striker Diego Costa through on goal only for the Spaniard to slip at the decisive moment.
Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin then got sent off two minutes to the end for a second bookable offence but Southampton held on to claim a crucial point against the leaders.