Chelsea 2 - 2 Southampton: Benitez under fire again as Blues blow lead
CHELSEA suffered another case of the Stamford Bridge stutters as they threw away a two-goal lead to Southampton.
Chelsea - Ba (25), Hazard (45)
Southampton - Lambert (58), Puncheon (75)
Demba Ba and Eden Hazard had put Chelsea in control and they seemed to be cruising to a first home victory since before Christmas. But Rickie Lambert pulled Southampton back into the game with a header three minutes after being sent on and Jason Puncheon then equalised with a brilliant volley.
Since their 8-0 rout of Aston Villa on 23 December, Chelsea have lost at home to QPR and Swansea and now drawn with the relegation-battling Saints.
There had been no audible boos of Blues manager Rafael Benitez before kick-off, perhaps because he chose to start with Ba ahead of Fernando Torres and with Frank Lampard in midfield. But, hours after it was revealed Pep Guardiola was taking over at Bayern Munich, the dissent towards Benitez at the end was clear.
Lampard played a key role in the first goal, laying the ball back for Cesar Azpilicueta to curl in a cross which was diverted to Ba, who volleyed in. The second came when Ramires rifled a shot off the post and Hazard followed up to drill in a left-footed shot.
In the second half sub Lambert headed in a deep cross before Puncheon levelled with 15 minutes remaining.
Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar, Mata, Hazard, Ba. Subs: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Torres, Ferreira, Marin, Terry, Bertrand.
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Cork, S Davis, Schneiderlin, Puncheon, Do Prado, Rodriguez. Subs: K Davis, Lambert, Ramirez, Fox, Ward-Prowse, Seaborne, Chaplow.
Referee: M Oliver
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