Tottenham’s title dreams ended by Eden Hazard’s dramatic intervention
PUBLISHED: 22:18 02 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 May 2016
2016 Getty Images
Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge was ended by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge after they threw away a two-goal lead in a fiery and ill-tempered London derby.
Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son struck in the final 10 minutes of the first half to give Spurs a commanding advantage at the break, but Gary Cahill halved the deficit just before the hour-mark and Eden Hazard equalised seven minutes from time.
The result means Leicester City have tonight been crowned Premier League champions, while Tottenham must lick their wounds and reflect on a game that too often got out of hand due to infractions from both sides and ended with a string of ugly challenges, with referee Mark Clattenburg handing out nine yellow cards to Tottenham alone.
There were two changes to the Chelsea side as captain John Terry and Cahill returned to the centre of defence. Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino made one enforced alteration to his favoured line-up as Son replaced the suspended Dele Alli.
Cahill headed wide from a corner early on, while Danny Rose sent a long-range effort whizzing just past the top right corner.
It was a feisty showdown and the temperature was rising, with full-blooded challenges flying in from both sides.
Branislav Ivanovic was fortunate to escape a booking for a tackle on Rose and Kyle Walker had a little kick at Pedro before getting a yellow card moments later for a heavy and late challenge on the Spaniard.
But Spurs went close as Son shot wide from just outside the D, and the visitors then broke the deadlock in the 35th minute, with Erik Lamela playing a through ball to Kane, who rounded Asmir Begovic and finished into the empty net.
Tottenham went close again as Lamela’s first-time shot from Walker’s low cross was blocked and, although Willian fired wide at the other end, Pochettino’s side doubled their lead a minute before the break.
Kane challenged John Obi Mikel inside Chelsea’s half and Eriksen played a perfectly-timed and weighted through ball to the onrushing Son, who finished coolly.
Spurs were 2-0 up but there was no decline in the intensity and the half ended with an ugly ruck on the touchline. Willian and Rose pushed each other after a challenge and their team-mates rushed into the fray, with Pochettino in the centre of the scrum, while Mousa Dembele appeared to put his fingers into Diego Costa’s eye, raising the prospect of a retrospective ban.
Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink introduced Hazard at the break but Spurs threatened to extend their lead as Kane headed at Begovic from a free kick before drawing a low save from the home goalkeeper.
However, Lloris had to get down to gather a low effort from Hazard at the other end, and the Blues levelled just before the hour-mark as a corner kick dropped kindly for Cahill, who fired home from the centre of the box.
Spurs fought to respond but, in doing so, they left themselves open and Hazard grew in influence while Willian was left unmarked in the box but was unable to seriously test Lloris.
Pochettino swapped Son for Ryan Mason and the substitute soon found himself free on the edge of the box, but Begovic got down to save his effort and Eriksen’s follow-up was blocked by Ivanovic.
It proved to be a big moment because Chelsea levelled shortly afterwards. Hazard gave the ball to Costa and, when the forward played a reverse pass, the Belgian whipped a first-time shot into the top right corner.
Spurs looked beaten and the match ended in unedifying fashion. Lamela stood on Fabregas’ hand, Dier was booked for a late tackle on Hazard and Costa slid in on Toby Alderweireld – who needed treatment – while Kane felled Willian.
Even after the final whistle, there was a brawl outside the players’ tunnel, with Rose and Spurs’ No2 goalkeeper Michel Vorm at the heart of the action and Pochettino heavily involved again, trying to drag his players away.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, (Davies 81) Dier, Dembele, Lamela, Eriksen, Son (Mason 65), Kane