Chelsea have rescued their unbeaten start to the season courtesy of a 96th-minute equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford yesterday to leave the Devils’ haunting for first win at Stamford Bridge since 2012.
Antonio Rudiger gave the home side the lead in the first half, but it looked as though United would make it two come-from-behind wins on the bounce when Anthony Martial’s brace after the interval put them on the verge of a valuable three points.
However, Ross Barkley fired home a last-gasp equaliser which prompted a remarkable melee on the touchline, with Jose Mourinho reacting angrily to celebrations from the Chelsea staff.
United’s poor record at Stamford Bridge continues to leave them still eighth in the standings.
Rudiger had been a doubt for the match after being forced to pull out of the Germany squad through injury, but he recovered in time to start in a Chelsea team which showed two changes – the same number made by United boss Jose Mourinho from their rousing comeback victory over Newcastle United.
It was one defensive lapse which proved to be the difference in the opening 45 minutes when Paul Pogba allowed Rudiger to escape him from a corner, allowing the Chelsea defender to meet Willian’s delivery with a firm header which left David de Gea no chance.
Rudiger turned provider 10 minutes later by floating a pass over the defence for an unmarked Marcos Alonso, whose control let him down inside the area when a better first touch would have left him with a golden opportunity.
United did begin to improve shortly after that scare, though, and their equaliser arrived 10 minutes after the restart when a sustained period of pressure resulted in Martial collecting the ball inside the box and firing a clinical finish past Kepa Arrizabalaga, who had denied Juan Mata seconds earlier.
Chelsea could have regained their lead shortly after the hour mark when again United were undone from a set piece, but this time David Luiz could only glance his header wide of the target from Willian’s free kick.
De Gea was able to watch that chance float past the far post, but the Spaniard was called into action five minutes later when he got down to parry N’Golo Kante’s low drive away from goal.
It proved to be an important stop with United going down the other end and taking the lead just two minutes later, with Mata and Marcus Rashford combining to find Martial, who cut inside before curling his low finish into the bottom corner.
The fourth official indicated six minutes of stoppage time, and Chelsea needed all of those to get their dramatic late equaliser when Luiz kept a Cesar Azpilicueta cross alive at the back post, nodding it into a dangerous area.
Rudiger initially saw his header well saved by De Gea, but Barkley was on hand to tuck home the rebound and spark wild scenes of celebrations.
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