Chelsea gain Leicester revenge to open door for Liverpool in top-four race

    Chelsea gained revenge for their FA Cup final defeat to Leicester at the weekend by beating the Foxes 2-1 in an ill-tempered clash at Stamford Bridge to leapfrog their opponents in the race for Champions League football.

    It took until early in the second half for Chelsea to turn their dominance into goals when Antonio Rudiger bundled home from close range. Jorginho doubled their advantage from the spot after Timo Wener went down in the area before substitute Kelechi Iheanacho pulled a goal back for the visitors.

    However, it was not enough as Thomas Tuchel’s men moved up to third in the table, above their opponents. The result also opens the door for Liverpool, knowing that a victory over Burnley on Wednesday night will see them move fourth.

    Ben Chilwell started at left wing-back as Tuchel made three changes from Saturday’s cup final defeat.

    Edouard Mendy slotted back in to start in goal, after Kepa Arrizabalaga’s cup exploits that ended in the weekend’s 1-0 loss to the Foxes.

    Christian Pulisic replaced Hakim Ziyech up front, while fit-again Mateo Kovacic made the bench and Tammy Abraham was named among the replacements.

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    Marc Albrighton started for Leicester with Jonny Evans injured, while James Maddison also came in from the off for the new FA Cup holders.

    Timo Werner saw two goals chalked off in a frustrating first half for Chelsea against their weekend opponents.

    The first was a clear offside decision, while the second was a handball as he bundled the ball into the visiting goal.

    The German was, however, unlucky not to win a penalty when he sent tumbling by Youri Tielemans. VAR took a look at the incident but decided not to overrule Mike Dean’s original decision of an actual foul to Leicester.

    The Foxes escaped unscathed with the game somehow goalless at the break, where Chelsea had made all the running without the vital breakthrough.

    Rudiger makes the breakthrough

    Chelsea came out flying at the start of the second period and took the lead when Rudiger notched from close range after Cesar Azpilicueta flicked on a Chilwell corner.

    Their dominance was rewarded with a second goal with 25 minutes to go when Werner was felled just inside the area by Wesley Fofana after a VAR check.

    Jorginho stepped up to coolly slot home from the spot to become Chelsea’s leading scorer in the league this season with seven, all penalties.

    The Foxes pulled a goal back with 15 minutes to go when Kovacic lost possession cheaply to Wilfred Ndidi, who found an unmarked Iheanacho to sweep past Mendy from 14 yards.

    Ayoze Perez missed a great chance to earn Leicester a crucial point in the 90th minute when he blazed over the bar from just inside the area.

    There was a massive melee in stoppage-time after a poor challenge from Ricardo Pereira on Chilwell, which resulted in a yellow card for the Foxes man.

    But it was not to be for Leicester as Chelsea gained revenge for the cup final loss to leapfrog their opponents in the table.


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