A FIERCELY DISPUTED 96th-minute Eden Hazard penalty saw Chelsea snatch a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday to preserve Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten home record in league games.
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The Chelsea manager was heading for his first home defeat in 66 matches when Steven Reid was contentiously adjudged to have fouled Ramires and Hazard held his nerve amid angry West Brom protests to roll home an equaliser.
Samuel Eto’o had put the hosts in front, but West Brom hit back through Shane Long and Stephane Sessegnon to take Chelsea to the brink of a second consecutive league defeat following last weekend’s 2-0 loss at Newcastle United.
Despite Hazard’s equaliser, the Europa League champions slipped to fourth place, four points below leaders Arsenal, who could move even further clear if they win at Manchester United on Sunday.
Mourinho had restored Hazard to his starting XI after the Belgian attacking midfielder was dropped for the mid-week win over Schalke following his late return from an authorised trip to France.
The 22-year-old seemed eager to atone and was the catalyst for his side’s opener on the stroke of half-time, with a low shot that was pushed out by West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill, only for Eto’o to poke the rebound home.
Chelsea led for only 16 minutes, however, with Long out-jumping John Terry and Frank Lampard to head home an equaliser after Petr Cech had pushed Gareth McAuley’s powerful header into the air.
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Things got worse for Chelsea in the 68th minute and Cech bore a sizeable degree of culpability, allowing a tame shot from Sessegnon to squirm beneath him.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke, Mourinho’s former assistant, looked destined to enjoy a famous victory over his former mentor, only for referee Andre Marriner to point to the spot after Ramires threw himself against Reid and went down, to the anger and disbelief of the visiting players.