Sunderland boss Roy Keane admitted Chelsea's penalty was just too much for his side's slim hopes of snatching a point at Stamford Bridge.
And Keane was also disappointed with the dismissal of Liam Miller, who was shown a straight red for slapping Claudio Pizarro in the face.
"The penalty killed the game for us. We were having a decent spell and when you're 1-0 down you always have a chance, especially given how many late goals we've scored this season," the Black Cats boss said.
"I didn't see the penalty properly but when you come to a place like Chelsea there's every chance the referee is going to lean towards the home side."
Sunderland failed to make an impact in Chelsea's final third but after Andrei Shevchenko's header in the 23rd minute, the away side battled on.
The killer goal came in the 75th minute when Danny Higginbotham was adjudged to have pulled back Alex in the box and Frank Lampard made it 2-0 from the spot.
But the game was brought to a climatic ending when Sunderland's Liam Miller slapped Claudio Pizarro in the face off the ball.
But the referee failed to see the Peruvian's disguised knee into Miller after he disagreed with the Irish international's tackle on John Terry.
Keane said: "For the red card, there's no doubt that when you raise your hands you don't give the referee any choice. But it could have been avoided. There was a big issue made out of Liam's tackle on John Terry."
"John and Claudio Pizarro had a go at Liam. Obviously it was a foul but that was it, there was no nastiness to it.
"Now he'll miss the next three games. Maybe the referee could have stepped in five seconds earlier. But John and Pizarro's reaction disappointed me," he added.