Sunday’s Premier League games produced vital wins for Chelsea and Liverpool in the race for the Champions League and Premier League title. Here is what happened in those potentially crucial clashes:
Loftus Cheek rescues Chelsea at Cardiff
Chelsea recorded a rather fortuitous late 2-1 victory at Cardiff City, with Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock absolutely furious with the officials at the final whistle following some questionable decisions.
Chelsea enjoyed the lions share of possession in the first half without creating much of note. It was the home side who came closest in the first period, as Josh Murphy fired just wide of goal from inside the area.
The Bluebirds were unfortunate not to win a penalty, as Marcos Alonso pulled Sean Morrison’s shirt in the penalty area. Pedro fired over the bar with the Blues only effort on goal of the first period.
The home took the lead just seconds into the second period, as Spanish midfielder Victor Camarasa finished superbly from a low Harry Arter cross. The visitors were once again fortunate not to concede a penalty kick, as Antonio Rudiger hauled down Morrison in the penalty area. Once again referee Craig Pawson ignored the incident.
Chelsea threatened as Willian fired an effort across the face of goal. Then came the Chelsea equaliser and another moment of major controversy. Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta headed home from an offside position, only for the officials to once again miss the incident.
The home sides frustration soon increased Rudiger brought down Kenneth Zohore, who looked to be through on goal. However, instead of a red card referee, Pawson produced a yellow card for the incident.
To add insult to injury, Chelsea substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed home the winning from a Willian cross in the first minute of stoppage-time. Home boss Neil Warnock was furious and at the game stood in the centre of the pitch staring at the officials who were yards out.
The win means that Chelsea are just a point outside the top-four. Meanwhile, Cardiff are five points from safety, although the Bluebirds have a game in hand on 17th Burnley.
Alderweireld own goal gives Reds late win over Tottenham
Liverpool recorded a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Anfield, courtesy of a ridiculous own goal from Tottenham centre-back Toby Alderweireld on 90 minutes.
Liverpool took the lead on 16 minutes, as Roberto Firmino headed home from eight yards from a superb Andy Robertson left-wing cross. At the other end of the pitch, Dele Alli struck a half volley just over the bar.
Sadio Mane came with close to doubling the home sides lead just before the break, as the winger saw an effort from 20 yards out go just wide of goal.
Spurs had the first chance of the second period, as Alisson saved Harry Kane’s effort before Trent Alexander-Arnold produced a superb saving tackle to keep out a Christian Eriksen effort from the rebound.
Tottenham equalised with just 20 minutes left on the clock. Harry Kane’s free-kick found Kieran Tripper who played in Eriksen. The Dane mis-hit his cross, but Brazilian international Lucas Moura was on hand to tap home.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was called into action to keep out an effort from Alexander-Arnold. The visitors should have taken the lead on 85 minutes. Moussa Sissoko and Heung-min Son broke two on one with Virgil van Dijk. However, somehow Sissoko managed to fire his effort well over the bar. Alli also came close to scoring, as the Spurs midfielder saw an effort go just wide of Alisson’s goal.
Then came the vital winning goal. Alexander-Arnold launched a cross to the back post, where Mohamed Salah rather tamed headed towards goal. However, Spurs goalkeeper Lloris fumbled the ball and it hit the helpless Alderweireld before going over the line.
The goal could be crucial, as it moved Jurgen Klopp’s side back to the top of the table, two points above Manchester City. The Reds are still underdogs to win the title in May, though. Tottenham are now in a major fight for Champions League qualification.
Will Sunday’s game at Anfield prove pivotal in the title race?