Premier League: Chelsea and Tottenham share spoils at Stamford Bridge
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp. Last Updated: 09/05/13 12:06am
Gylfi Sigurdsson's late leveller earned Tottenham a point from their 2-2 draw with Chelsea as the race for UEFA Champions League football remains in the balance.
Rafa Benitez's men looked on course for the victory that would effectively secure a top-four finish after goals from Oscar and Ramires either side of Emmanuel Adebayor's stunner for Spurs.
But Sigurdsson stepped off the bench to curl home 10 minutes from time to leave the visitors three points adrift of Chelsea and one behind Arsenal with just two games to go.
Best of the match
- Man of the match: Eden Hazard. The Belgium international was always a threat and showed some great skill throughout the match.
- Goal of the match: Emmanuel Adebayor's effort for Spurs was sublime as he picked the ball up inside his own half and ran at Chelsea before finding the top corner.
- Pass of the match: Hazard's audacious back flick on the halfway line sent Juan Mata racing away and should have seen Ramires make it 3-1.
- Moment of the match: Gylfi Sigurdsson's leveller 10 minutes from time prevented Chelsea from effectively booking their place in the top four.
- Talking points: Who will win the race to be playing UEFA Champions League football next season? Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs are battling for two places with games running out.
Chelsea took the lead with 10 minutes on the clock when Oscar nodded home from close range at the far post after Gary Cahill had met Juan Mata's corner from the right with Tottenham's defence failing to pick up their men.
Spurs skipper Michael Dawson had to be brave to put his head directly in the way of a stinging Eden Hazard shot in the 25th minute after the Belgium international had cut inside Kyle Walker.
The visitors levelled moments later with a stunning effort from Adebayor, with the big striker picking the ball up inside his own half and advancing unchecked deep into Chelsea territory before passing the ball into Petr Cech's top corner.
Former Gunners forward Adebayor had a chance to top that stunning strike when he was picked out by Jan Vertonghen's vision, but he could not control his volley from 12 yards out and fired over the bar.
Benitez's men put their noses back in front in the 39th minute when Fernando Torres threaded a pass from out on the right through the Spurs defence for Ramires to burst onto and toe-poke his finish across Hugo Lloris and into the bottom corner.
Chelsea made a strong start to the second period and should have extended their lead when Hazard was found in space in the Spurs box, only to fire over the bar after leaving Walker on his backside with a neat turn.
They looked certain to make it 3-1 in the 61st minute when a sumptuous Hazard flick sent Mata racing away before squaring the ball to Ramires, only for the Brazilian to lose his footing at the crucial moment and go crashing to the turf.
Spurs weathered the storm and hit back, with Vertonghen's attempted overhead kick at the far post from Tom Huddlestone's free-kick going over the bar with Lewis Holtby in a better position to convert behind him.
Andre Villas-Boas' men levelled 10 minutes from the end when Benoit Assou-Ekotto's pass to Adebayor was neatly back-heeled by the big striker into the path of Sigurdsson to fire beyond Cech for a point which keeps Spurs in the race for the top four, although they remain behind both of their London rivals.
Chelsea interim boss Benitez admitted after the match that he felt his side had missed the chance to secure a top-four finish by squandering several second-half opportunities.
He told Sky Sports: "With our counter-attacks we have to do something more. We had the chances to score the third goal and finish the game but we didn't do it."
Tottenham counterpart Villas-Boas wants his side to 'keep the faith' in the pursuit of Champions League qualification.
He told Sky Sports: "Obviously with the point we don't depend on ourselves any more as somebody has to drop points. Our focus is on doing our job in these remaining fixtures. In the Premier League, everything can happen."
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