Chelsea suffer title blow as Saints rally

16 January 2013 10:16

Chelsea's hopes of winning the Premier League title this season were left hanging by a thread after they squandered a 2-0 lead in a 2-2 draw at home to strugglers Southampton on Wednesday.

The result, which came on the same day former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola confirmed he was turning down the European champions' overtures to manage German giants Bayern Munich, left Chelsea 13 points behind leaders Manchester United with just 16 league games remaining.

First-half goals from Demba Ba and Eden Hazard put European champions Chelsea in a commanding position against a Southampton side they beat 5-1 in the FA Cup at St Mary's 11 days earlier.

Ba volleyed Chelsea into a 25th minute lead at Stamford Bridge.

And just before the interval, Hazard made it 2-0 to the Londoners when he volleyed in the rebound after Ramires's shot came back off the crossbar.

However, moments after coming off the bench, striker Rickie Lambert pulled a goal back for Southampton in the 58th minute when he headed in a cross from Nathaniel Clyne.

And the visitors were all square in spectacular style when, with 15 minutes left, Jason Puncheon flicked the ball up before lashing a shot into the top corner for a brilliant equaliser that increased the pressure on Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez.

The draw took Southampton three points clear of the relegation zone.

Source: AFP

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