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Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea: Visitors come from behind with Azpilicueta and Loftus-Cheek goals

Three of Victor Camarasa's five Premier League goals have come against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea

Chelsea staged a remarkable late revival to snatch a controversial victory at relegation-threatened Cardiff City and ease the intensifying pressure on boss Maurizio Sarri.

Ponderous and painfully slow, Chelsea controlled possession but did little with it as they were comfortably shackled by a disciplined Cardiff side during a goalless first half.

The hosts took the lead less than a minute into the second period thanks to Victor Camarasa's delicate curling volley, prompting cries of "we want Sarri out" from Chelsea's travelling fans.

With five minutes left, Cezar Azpilicueta nodded in an equaliser from a clearly offside position and then, in added time, substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed the winner to break Cardiff hearts.

The result is a major blow to Cardiff's bid for Premier League survival, leaving them five points adrift of safety with seven games remaining.

For Chelsea, however, it is a major reprieve for their hopes of securing Champions League football next season, keeping them within a point of Manchester United in fourth place.

And nobody will be feeling more relieved than Sarri after he faced repeated calls to be sacked from the travelling supporters.

Chelsea fans turn on Sarri

The Italian was already under pressure before this match, with a run of four defeats from five away matches and fans growing frustrated with the patient, arguably overly pragmatic style of football known as 'Sarriball'.

They vented their anger on several occasions at Cardiff City Stadium, and justifiably so given their side's largely toothless display.

Sarri had decided to rest two of his most important players, Eden Hazard and N'Golo Kante, who both joined Callum Hudson-Odoi on the bench despite the clamour to hand the 18-year-old winger his first Premier League start following his impressive recent debut for England.

Hazard's creativity and Hudson-Odoi's dynamism would have been useful for Chelsea in a sterile start to the game, as they dominated possession but at a walking pace.

Once again, Gonzalo Higuain cut a forlorn figure up front, dropping deep in search of the ball and often outnumbered by Cardiff's swarming defence.

Added to that, there was no penetration from a midfield three of Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Jorginho, whose second-half substitution was met with ironic cheers from the travelling supporters.

But it was Sarri for whom they reserved their most stinging vitriol, mocking 'Sarriball' and demanding the Italian's sacking in a string of furious chants.

Chelsea's players pressed forward in search of an equaliser as the second half wore on, but there was little conviction or genuine threat against a Cardiff side who had conceded 57 goals in their previous 30 matches.

That was until the 84th minute when Marcos Alonso flicked on a cross to Azpilicueta, who was a foot offside but allowed to head in from close range, much to the rage of the Cardiff crowd.

A draw would still not have been much use to Chelsea's hopes of a top-four finish, and they got their full reprieve when Willian swung an injury-time cross to the back post, where substitute Loftus-Cheek headed in powerfully to spark celebrations in the away end - and a huge sigh of relief from Sarri.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Cardiff

  • 1Etheridge
  • 2Peltier
  • 4Morrison
  • 5Ecuele Manga
  • 3Bennett
  • 17GunnarssonBooked at 86mins
  • 7ArterBooked at 54minsSubstituted forRallsat 80'minutes
  • 11MurphySubstituted forMendez-Laingat 90'minutes
  • 21Camarasa
  • 33Hoilett
  • 29NiasseSubstituted forZohoreat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Ralls
  • 10Zohore
  • 14De Cordova-Reid
  • 15Bacuna
  • 19Mendez-Laing
  • 23K Harris
  • 28Murphy

Chelsea

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 28AzpilicuetaBooked at 61mins
  • 2RüdigerBooked at 87mins
  • 30David Luiz
  • 3Alonso
  • 17Kovacic
  • 5JorginhoBooked at 26minsSubstituted forLoftus-Cheekat 64'minutes
  • 8Barkley
  • 11PedroSubstituted forE Hazardat 53'minutes
  • 9HiguaínSubstituted forGiroudat 77'minutes
  • 22Willian

Substitutes

  • 7Kanté
  • 10E Hazard
  • 12Loftus-Cheek
  • 13Caballero
  • 18Giroud
  • 20Hudson-Odoi
  • 27Christensen
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
32,657

Match Stats

Home TeamCardiffAway TeamChelsea
Possession
Home29%
Away71%
Shots
Home8
Away21
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home2
Away7
Fouls
Home8
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Cardiff City 1, Chelsea 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Cardiff City 1, Chelsea 2.

Attempt saved. Joe Bennett (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Foul by Ross Barkley (Chelsea).

Bruno Ecuele Manga (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea).

Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Ross Barkley (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Eden Hazard following a fast break.

Foul by David Luiz (Chelsea).

Víctor Camarasa (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal!

Goal! Cardiff City 1, Chelsea 2. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Willian with a cross.

Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Joe Bennett (Cardiff City).

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing replaces Josh Murphy.

Attempt blocked. Víctor Camarasa (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea).

Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Kenneth Zohore replaces Oumar Niasse.

Goal!

Goal! Cardiff City 1, Chelsea 1. César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcos Alonso following a corner.

Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Willian with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Sean Morrison.

Attempt blocked. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Joe Ralls replaces Harry Arter.

Delay in match Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City) because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.

Substitution

Substitution, Chelsea. Olivier Giroud replaces Gonzalo Higuaín.

Foul by Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).

Harry Arter (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Sean Morrison.

Attempt blocked. Gonzalo Higuaín (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ross Barkley.

Attempt missed. Willian (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Sean Morrison.

Offside, Chelsea. Eden Hazard tries a through ball, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek is caught offside.

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Sean Morrison.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

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