Battle of the Bridge 2 as Tuchel loses his rag, gets a red card and the Blues let slip two points in pulsating 2-2 draw

By Paul Lagan

At Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 2 v  Spurs 2

Spurs scored a late, late equaliser to earn an undeserved 2-2 draw in a pulsating and at times nasty derby at the Bridge this afternoon which saw Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte get sent off after Tuchel failed to let go of his counterpart’s hand at the final whistle.

It was a nasty ill-tempered end to a game, Chelsea should have won easily.

But Spurs hung in deep, and took the chances when presented to them.

Chelsea had conceded a needless second equaliser from the glancing head of Harry Kane deep into the six minutes of added time, but the rumblings of discontent ran deep long before that.

Both head coaches were  given a yellow card for their part in an on the pitch melee that resulted from Spurs first equaliser 68 minutes.

Tuchel had felt his player Kai Havertz was fouled seconds before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg slotted  home a daisy-cutter to cancel out Kalidou Koulibaly’s thunderous volley on 20 minutes.

Both benches raced on the pitch and there was lots of scuffling and handbags.

But had the Blues taken the gilt-edged chances afforded them, the game would have petered out with little controversy.

Reece James thought he had secured the three points when he latched onto an inch-perfect pass from Raheem Sterling, before thundering home a  powerful right-footer from the edge of the Spurs penalty area to go 2-1 up on 77 minutes.

It sent the fans wild, Tuchel  went storming off down the line in delight, leaving Antonio Conte holding his head in frustration and anger.

But the drama was not over and, just before the Spurs corner for the equaliser, VAR assessed that a pull on the hair on Marc Cucurella by Christian Romero did not warrant a straight red.

The caused a lapse of concentration at the ball and Kane head did the rest.

Typically for this fixture, the opening segment was one of frenetic, high-tempo play that had little cogent structure to it.

little, sly fouls, punctuated the play, which saw little action in either penalty area.

The best chance came in the 19th minute when a quick turn over saw N’Golo Kante and Raheem Sterling combine on the right. The ball  fell to Kai Havertz whose low shot was tipped away for a corner by Hugo Lloris.

New bot Marc Cucurella then sent in a deep, slightly out swinging cross and on the spot Kalidou Koulibaly produced a titanic volley that smashed into the back of the net to put the hime side, 1-0 up.

If the French centre-back never scores another goal for the Blues , he will be forever a hero to the Chelsea faithful. That’s what happens when you score a worldly against Spurs.

To be fair, not one Spurs player was anywhere close to Koulibaly. It’s kind of reassuring that even at the elite level of football, basic mistakes are still made.

The game then settled down a bit as Spurs fought to regroup and Chelsea took a breather.

But Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus- Cheek had glorious chances to extend the lead – both were wasteful in their execution.

The half-time message from Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel. Had to centre round retaining the high energy pressing game. but they be able to sustain it in the heat?

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

But on 57 minutes Spurs boss Antonio Conte had seen enough of his side and replaced Ryan Sessegnon within striker Richarlison.

Sterling smashed the ball over the Spurs crossbar on 60 minutes after excellent work by Loftus-Cheek. Seconds later and Harry Kane neat the Chelsea back line,but scuffed his shot wide of Edouard Mendy’s right post.

Chelsea were mugged on 69 minutes when, after Havertz felt he was could the ball went up the other end and after Jorginho failed to get the ball clear the ball was feed to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg who daisy-cutter inched wide of Mendy’s dive and the ball inched into the back of his net.

Then all hell broke loose between the two dugouts, Tuchel and Conte almost went head-to-head, both benches raced to protect their men and for a couple of minutes it was a scene reminiscent of the Battle of Stamford Bridge a couple of seasons ago.

Referee Anthony Taylor, after consulting his lineman and fourth official gave a yellow card to  member of each of the sides’ support staff and to the respective head coaches.

Quite how Havertz  missed a sitter on 75 minutes is anybodies guess?

The perfect right-wing cross from Reece James was met with the left boot of the German, who somehow directed the gilt-edged chase wide of goal.

But two minutes later and Koulibaly won the ball on the left, he passed it to Kante, who fed it to Sterling. The move felt like an attack rugby union attack, and in-running James picked the ball up and thumped the ball with such venom, that Lloris had no time to react and the ball smacked the back of the net and the Blues were back in front.

Kante then suffered a hamstring pull with eight minutes left – he was replaced by Conor Gallagher- also coming in was Christian Pulisic for Sterling.

Armando Broja replaced Havertz as the clock hit the 90 minutes with six minutes of time added.

It failed to have any effect and Kane, up to that point an anonymous participant on the pitch rose to game a header into the far post.

At the whistle Conte and Tuchel locked handshakes but Tuchel refused to let go.

The plyers and support staff agains created a morass. Referee Taylor had no doubt who was at fault and red-carded the German.

Teams: Chelsea, Chelsea: Mendy; James, Silva, Koulibaly, Cucurella; Kante, Jorginho; Loftus-Cheek, Mount; Havertz, Sterling.

substitutes: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Chilwell, Chalobah, Gallagher, Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech, Pulisic, Broja


Spurs, Lloris, Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson Royal, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Son.

Subs: Doherty, D’Sanchez, Richarlison, Gil, Persia, Forster, Tanganga, Lucas Moura, Bissouma.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

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