Chelsea missed their chance to return to the top of the Premier League as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Having struggled to create many chances against a resolute Swans defence in the opening hour of the game it was a simple corner routine that brought the opening goal of the game. Gary Cahill rose to meet Eden Hazard’s right-wing corner and Moses glanced the ball into the net from inside the six yard box.
However with three minutes to play the home side levelled things up with a fantastic Pablo Hernandez strike from outside the penalty area, beating Petr Cech`s outstretched left hand.
With Chelsea captain John Terry serving the final game of his four game ban and David Luiz not in the match day squad Cesar Azpilicueta made his first Premier League start for the Blues at right-back with Branislav Ivanovic moving to the centre of defence alongside Gary Cahill. Frank Lampard and Juan Mata also missed out for the visitors, who gave Oriel Romeu a rare start in place of Ramires.
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup made two changes from the side that started against Manchester City last weekend, Michel Vorm was ruled out with the groin injury he was stretchered off with at the Etihad so Gerhard Tremmel started in goal and Gary Monk replaced Chico Flores at the heart of the defence.
Despite a slow start Chelsea were never overpowered and as the half wore on they slowly started to make an impression on the game and the first half’s best two chances fell to two of their ever impressive forwards.
Brazilian Oscar was the first to be gifted a chance to test Tremmel but his 25 yard free-kick struck the wall, and in the 19th minute Hazard found himself in acres of space but his shot flew miles over the bar much to the delight of the home fans.
Di Matteo chose to introduce Ramires at half-time for the disappointing Romeu but it was not the substitute who forced Tremmel into an early second-half save, that was Hazard, but the German keeper was able to hold onto the Belgian’s low shot from the edge of the area.
Just after the hour mark Chelsea’s second-half pressure paid off as Moses grabbed his first goal for Chelsea in the Premier League. Hazard delivered a right-wing corner onto the head of Cahill, his header went towards goal and was glanced on by Moses in front of Ben Davies to take the ball over Leon Britton on the line.
Laudrup’s men worked hard in the final half hour of the game and got their reward with minutes to spare as substitute Itay Shechter found Hernandez on the edge of the area, the forward made himself some space and fired past Cech from the edge of the penalty area.
First Published: Saturday, November 03, 2012, 23:34