Match Report: Chelsea 2-2 Southampton

Chelsea’s home blues continued as they had to settle for a point against Southampton after throwing away a 2-0 half-time lead.

Demba Ba marked his Stamford Bridge debut in a blue shirt with a 25th minute goal and Chelsea were cruising at half-time as Eden Hazard doubled their lead in first-half injury-time. But Rickie Lambert scored within three minutes of coming off the bench before Jason Puncheon’s stunning left-foot volley earned a point for the visitors. Chelsea have now won just one of their five home league matches since Rafa Benitez took charge. Southampton started well, frustrating Chelsea, pressing high in midfield and retaining the ball with confidence, though could have been behind early after Ba’s pull-back looped off Maya Yoshida and almost bobbled past Artur Boruc’s far post. Chelsea’s play was increasingly tepid and slow, much to the disappointment of the home crowd, until, just before the half hour mark, Frank Lampard drove his team forward. The midfielder found Azpilicueta, who whipped a cross into the box. Oscar and Jos Hooiveld rose to meet the delivery, with the ball ricocheting into the air for Ba to acrobatically volley into the bottom corner via an onrushing Yoshida. Chelsea upped the tempo before the break, as Lampard went close with two venomous efforts, before the Blues eventually got their reward. Ramires leathered a shot against the frame of the goal, but Hazard was on hand to expertly smash the rebound past Southampton’s Polish keeper. The two sides continued to exchange extended periods of conservative possession after the restart, but it wasn’t until Adkins brought on the talismanic Lambert that Southampton began to show any bite. Just three minutes after his introduction, Nathaniel Clyne burst forward from deep and floated a cross into the box. Lambert darted in front of Cahill and thumped an unstoppable header past Petr Cech. The game opened up as the invigorated Saints pushed for an equaliser, creating space for Chelsea to exploit on the break with both Ashley Cole and Ba going close to scoring. But where the Blues were profligate, Southampton were clinical. 17-year-old Chelsea target Luke Shaw bombed up the left flank, leaving Azpilicueta in his dust, before firing a cross into the box. Puncheon met the delivery, flicked the ball up and rifled a ferocious volley past Cech.

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